Apple patent application details instant product research via iPhone, more NFC possibilities

Past Apple patent applications have already offered some evidence that the company is at least thinking about NFC-enhanced apps on the iPhone, and a recently published application has now tossed out one more possible application: instant product research. That would apparently be done using either NFC (or near field communication) or a simple barcode scan, which would let you easily access product reviews, user manuals and other information about products before you purchase them -- the application even includes the example of an NFC-enabled restaurant menu that would let you check nutritional information before you order. Somewhat interestingly, both this and Apple's previous NFC-related patent application use "+" in the app's names (Products+ and Concert Tickets+), although that could simply be the work of one patent attorney, and not evidence of an overarching Apple strategy.