Apple Patent for Real-Time Collaboration Granted -- A Brief Review

Published: April 02, 2015
Pamela Rivera

By: Pamela Rivera

Apple was awarded a new patent (U.S. Pat. 8, 965,349) on February 24, 2015, that finally allows for “real-time sharing of interactive applications.”  The patent describes how two devices can now “share applications, or application data, in such a fashion that users of the electronic devices may each see one another’s application data or interact with one another through shared applications.” While many desktop platforms allow interactive sharing, Apple would be leading the push of this platform into the mobile world. 

In its patent, Apple discusses how, in today’s world, people are able to stay connected through their portable computing devices.  They add, “This high degree of connectedness between people is now expected.”  You may be asking how this impacts you, as the user.  Well, this invention would allow you to beam what is on your Apple device’s screen onto another person’s device. Both you and the owner of the other device would be able to interact with the application on your device’s screen simultaneously and in real-time.  

How Does it Work?

The first person starts a session with at least one other device.  The user of the second device can then accept the invitation to create a link between the devices.  The user of the first device can “host” the session, which means it “may process [the] data, update the application and instruct the remote electronic device how to display the shared application.”  The patent discloses an example where a mother is reading “Winnie the Pooh” to her child via FaceTime. Using the invention, she can make turn the pages on her child’s device as she reads the story on her own device.

The patent also makes it possible for the user to control which information they want to keep private and unaltered during the interactive sharing.  The patent discloses an example where the host device shares a calendar with the second device.  The invention allows the host to show the calendar appointments “as blocked out on the view provided by the interactive application being shared.” Thus, the user hosting the session will not only be able to prevent the other user from viewing the details of the calendar appointments, they will also be prevented from making changes to the appointments altogether. 

While Apple already offers sharing capabilities between its devices, this new platform for sharing revolutionizes the way information is being shared on mobile devices.

For the full patent document, please click here.