Apple apparently still has its eye on NFC, at least as described in a freshly won patent.
Awarded Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, an Apple patent called "System and method for simplified data transfer" describes a way of automatically transferring data from one device to another.
Both devices would be configured to copy data from one to the other. The first device may be set up to save and transfer data associated with specific apps. Powering up the second device would automatically tell the first device to transfer the data. The devices outlined in the patent could both be mobile gadets, or one could be a smartphone or tablet and the other a computer. Other devices could also be added to the mix, including a game controller or an Apple TV and remote.
Though the patent mentions NFC, the data transfer could occur using another wireless technology.
"A method of performing the simplified data transfer may include initiating communication using near-field communication (NFC) between two devices," the patent said. "Next, data associated with open applications on one of the two devices may be saved and then transferred to the other. Transferring the data may take place using a peer-to-peer connection other than via NFC."
NFC is typically thought of as a way to initiate mobile payments. But it can also be used for file transfers and other types of communications, as the patent clearly spells out. Apple has so far resisted jumping onto the NFC bandwagon, but the patent shows that the company sees it as a viable technology. So, it's likely only a matter of time before the iPhone and iPad are outfitted with a dose of NFC.