A new patent application published yesterday by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) outlines in excruciating detail new multitouch gestures based on physical metaphors letting users share documents between devices by the means of flicking objects outside the screen boundaries, “pouring” content from one device into another (depicted in the above illustration) and more. The system taps your device’s many sensors, namely accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope, in order to determine its physical position relative to other devices in the vicinity. Combined with visual clues such as repelling forces, the user interface would communicate to the user when and how objects between devices can be exchanged. There’s a lot to be excited about this invention.
Apple provides limited file sharing options that require a computer, such as iTunes syncing, iTunes File Sharing and running a WebDAV server on the device to wirelessly share app documents through a desktop browser. In addition, come this Fall the iPhone maker will roll out the free iCloud online service and new iOS APIs so third-parties could build apps that can share private documents across devices via the user’s iCloud storage. Also, the new AirDrop feature in Lion could eventually arrive to iOS to enable drag-and-drop file sharing between Macs and iOS gadgets.
However, none of those methods provides an easy way to directly exchange files between nearby devices and the lack of full file system access for end-users doesn’t help either. While Apple is certainly not going to sacrifice ease of use by exposing file system intricacies to the user, the proposed file sharing metaphors based on new multitouch gestures should solve the file sharing issue once and for all. Check this out….