You may eventually be able to transfer files between a computer and mobile device just by placing the two near each other.
Published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, an Apple patent application known as "Apparatus and method for interacting with handheld carrier hosting media content," describes a file transfer technology that automatically kicks in when two devices are positioned next to each other. One device would sense when the other is nearby and then send or receive a certain document, picture, song, or other item.
As one example, you may be creating an e-mail message or document on your computer into which you want to insert an image stored on your mobile phone. You would position your cursor in the spot where you want the image to appear. You'd then open the image on your phone. Moving your phone next to your computer would then transfer the image to your e-mail or document.
The system would rely on wireless technologies such as Bluetooth or near-field communications (NFC) to kick off the file transfer. Using NFC, you could also physically touch one device to the other to copy the file you need. The iPhone and iPad come equipped with Bluetooth but don't yet support NFC.
Like all patent filings, this one may not necessarily translate into an actual technology, even if approved. But such a system would certainly please mobile phone users who want a quick, simple way to transfer photos and videos to their computers.
The patent application was filed on January 12, 2010, and lists Douglas Weber, a product design manger for the iPod and iPhone, as the inventor.