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Apple looking to patent sharable apps, considers calling them 'seeds'

Sean Hollister
December 16, 2010
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You know that killer new app you just got for your iPhone? Could you beam us a copy to try? Of course you can't -- it doesn't work that way -- but someday soon it might. The fine folks at Patently Apple recently unearthed an Apple patent app that describes a way to transfer apps over peer-to-peer Bluetooth or shiny, star-filled WiFi. The idea goes that if a company wants to spread a program by word of mouth, it might as well make it shareable too, and so the owner of an app could transfer an "application seed" to friends and associates with a similar device. You'd pick from a menu of apps to beam over, where only those greenlit by their developer would be available to send, and your recipient would receive a trial version -- or somewhat less excitingly, a link to the App Store -- over the air. The patent app suggests that recipients could even share the demo in turn, generating generation after generation of word-of-mouth sales, and that companies might even reward particularly influential sharers in some way. What's that rumbling we hear? Just the gears turning in the minds of men plotting the next great pyramid scheme.

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