Apple working on a more social way to buy and share apps [Patent watch]

Based on a recent patent filing, it looks as if Apple may be looking at even more ways to buy and share apps. This approach would be a bit more social as it would allow your friends to share applications with you that they think you may enjoy. This could work through the network, through a cloud service, or through IR.

The patent explains a way in which you could have a list of applications that are able to be shared. When sharing, the person receiving the recommendation would have access to either the full apps with a trial period limit, a demo, or a restricted (lite) version. I'm assuming this would probably depend on each developer's preference. The user would see a list of applications to share and they could drag them to a specified location in order to share them with others.

There is also talk of this being a way for Apple to offer incentives to people who refer applications to others. Whether those incentives would include App Store credit, promotional material, discounts or something else isn't clear. Regardless what it is, it's definitely something I could see as a good model to boost App Store sales even further.

The patent also shows that this model could be used across several devices including iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads, and Mac computer platforms. This makes sense considering Mac will now offer an App Store as well. We can only assume a lot of apps will offer compatibility with Macs in the future.

Is this a feature you think you'd use? I frequently get family and friends asking for app recommendations and this could potentially make my life a bit easier when it comes to sending them a list of apps I recommend. I could simply send them straight to their device. And if Apple wants to give me some perks for doing so, even better!


[via Patently Apple]

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 11 comments. Add yours.

Not a wannabe techee says:

I did not read the patent and I know apple covers all as much tech as possible in their patents but all iPhones currently in the market do not have IR

Allyson Kazmucha says:

@Not a wannabe techee - i never said they did. as this is a patent, it could apply to future models

Kay says:

Nice idea, nothing earth shattering tho. What I find more interesting is the diagram of the iPhone which seems to show a pull down menu from the top, the apps seem to move down (and 'below the screen'). The pull/drop down menu seems similar to androids notifications system. Could this be the first sign of apple finally addressing the awful notifications currently on the iPhone?

J mars says:

maybe to models as soon as the ipad 2...

fman52 says:

@Kay- That is exactly wot I waz thinking

fastlane says:

I don't want friends sending me their games, and every other nonsensical, useless app they have store on their 10 home screens.
:x Bahhh, Humbug!

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Id only assume there would be a way to disable app sharing

cjford78 says:

I guess this would have prevented the whole VLC debacle a while back...

fastlane says:

It should have to be enabled. There are already too many things to be disabled. ;)

breissim says:

Sounds like Zune music sharing for iP* apps