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Apple Patents App-Sharing Technology, and E-Books Might Be Next

Apple (APPL) just patented a new technology that allows customers to share their apps wirelessly. Called Application Seed, it could have an interesting affect on Apple products and a bigger impact on Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), and other competition.

The website Patently Apple says:

It all begins by sharing your app with others effortlessly. The patent provides us with a scenario of how this system will work in the real world while covering the overall system -- which includes a new and all important Application Seed methodology. Testing and buying future apps using this methodology will allow more of us to experiment with smaller and perhaps unknown apps while it not costing us a dime.

The patent allows a user to beam other users a sample version of an app.

Sharing could become the new freemium model
One of the biggest trends right now is creating a free, "lite" version of an app so customers can test drive it before purchasing it. The freemium model is currently driving mobile app sales.

The Application Seed model eliminates the need for consumers to deal with the app store to try the latest popular software. Traditionally, if your colleague recommends a particular app, you have three choices:

  • Go to the app store and download the lite version of an app
  • Go to the app store and, if a lite version isn't available, buy the full app
  • Decide not to bother with it at all
The last option is what Apple and its app developers want to avoid. Application Seed makes it easy for your colleague to beam over a lite version to you. Once it's implemented, the impact will be felt not only in the App Store, but in the Google Android Market, which currently lacks a similar program -- among several other things.

iBookstore making progress on Kindle
The patent is app focused, but it doesn't take much of a stretch to see Apple using a like approach for sharing books. The iBookstore is slowly getting the robust multimedia features promised earlier this year, and book sharing is one of the biggest things it lacks over the popular Kindle device and software.

Amazon claims it sold several million units of the Kindle device alone this fall, which means Apple should push for every advantage it can get. Sharing books would be a natural step for the lagging iBookstore.

Photo courtesy of bengrey // CC 2.0

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