New Apple patent shows NFC-enabled iPod, games controller, TV and iPhone

A newly published Apple patent application explains how near field communication could be used to enable a wide range of devices to share resources within a connected ‘Apple TV Living Room’.

Apple iPhone showing NFC N-Mark
APPLE NFC: The patent application contains pictures of an iPhone, an Apple TV remote and other devices sporting an NFC Forum N-Mark (click to enlarge)

A new Apple patent application called ‘System and method for simplified resource sharing‘ shows near field communication technology being used to enable a wide range of devices — including the iPod, iPhone, Apple TV and iMac as well as a games controller, a printer, DVR, projector, camera, keyboard and a TV remote control — to be paired together easily so they can share resources such as hardware, software and entertainment products.

The patent application describes how sharing would be initiated via either NFC functionality built into a device or via an RFID tag on the device. According to the abstract:

Systems, methods, and devices for simplified resource-sharing with electronic devices are provided. For example, a method for using at least one resource of a variety of electronic devices from another electronic device may include receiving resource-sharing information associated with a resource-sharing electronic device via near field communication, determining a resource-sharing scheme for using the resources of the resource-sharing electronic device based on the resource-sharing information, and sharing at least one resource of the resource-sharing electronic device using the determined resource-sharing scheme. The resource-sharing information may be received from a near field communication interface of the resource-sharing electronic device or from a radio frequency identification tag associated with the resource-sharing electronic device.

The patent application includes numerous images of Apple and other devices, each clearly marked with the NFC Forum ‘N-Mark’ logo to indicate the presence of NFC technology on the device, and shows how resources such as TV programmes, photos and hardware such as speakers and displays could be shared between devices by simply touching one to the other.

Built-in NFC functionality is not the only solution foreseen by the patent application, however. As well as the ‘radio frequency identification tag’ mentioned in the abstract, the application also includes the potential use of a 2D barcode instead of NFC.

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One comment on this article

  1. I don’t think it’ll be long before we see the iPad being used – along with an extra unit to buy! – to control aspects of our life like central heating; think of what a pain it is to reprogram your heating boiler; think how much you could save with an app to factor external temperature and other aspects… and not having to scrabble around in dark cupboards with arcane instructions!

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