View Full Version : File sharing between iPad to iPad (and Macs) - a concept

11th February 2010, 09:47 AM
Since learning that Microsoft has finally started selling its Surface Computers to Aussie companies (and watching impressive demos) and having spent hours trying to network computers, together with my appreciation behind Apple software and my spare time I wrote up a conceptual idea on how Apple can tackle file sharing. Warning: quite a read.

"Here's an idea Steve,

Bluetooth was designed to make connectivity easier between devices and accessories. Since just about every product Apple makes has bluetooth (MacBooks and MacBook Pros, Mac Mini, iMac, iPod Touch (hardware confirmed), iPhone, and now the iPad), networking and sharing is one area Apple can really excel in thanks to its already tighly closed ecosystem. As of now, pairing between devices is still very much an archaic ritual where one user would have to type in a string of commands or find the bluetooth settings deep within the device's menu. And sharing files via an ad-hoc environment. Most users grasp the concept of 'sharing' files simply by plugging their device into their computers and then transferring them to a USB based flash drive before shoving that into another machine. This method is clumsy but most people get it. It's fast (no need to configure a network) and it's straight forward. It's also a physical affair in which people can literally carry their data across from host to host.

This is where Apple's philosophy of 'it just works' and 'simplicity' comes into play. Because each of the devices I mentioned earlier sports bluetooth, there is already a simple network structure that has already been put into place. Engineers can figure out that with the combination of bluetooth and wifi/acceleromitor sensor, the devices can talk to each other as well as locate their proximity. With Apple's advantage for control over both the hardware and software, network and sharing simplicity can reach a whole new level.

Case in point: An iPhone user wants to transfer their newly entered contacts from their phone into the Mac address book. They also want to upload their photos onto their MacBook. Similarly, they want to transfer some Keynote presentations from their MacBook onto the iPad. Currently, the user would have to connect their iPhone into the Mac, then sync. They would also have to browse the iPhone through the computer GUI to then copy and paste the photos. Likewise with the iPad, it's quite a manual task.

With this new networking system software engineers could develop a software solution that is both elegant and simplistic. With the given scenario described above using this new method, the user would simply present the iPhone close to the computer and with software, automatically connects to the computer and prompts the user how they want to interact with the device.

How will this work as a GUI? The software will be aware of the device's position and orientation then act as the user would expect. As the user draws the device (iPhone, iPad, etc.) closer to the Mac, the sharing software would automatically overlay icons on to the computer. The icons would seem to originate from the device onto the screen which would give the user graphical cues in which it is from that device that they would wish to interact with. For example, if the user draws the iPhone from the left side and moves it closer to the Mac, the icons on the Mac would originate from the left, and move according to the proximity of the iPhone. Additionally, if the user has left the iPhone on the left which is already connected and wishes to connect the iPad, they can simply move the iPad towards the right side of the Mac and as they draw the iPad closer to the computer, icons would then originate from the right side thus

The icons would be tiered. The first set of icons that appear may be used for device identification and confirmation for pairing. They then expand to sub-categories such as 'photos', 'videos' and 'documents'. If a user selects 'photos' for example, the photo library from the device will then literally 'spill-out' its contents onto the computer screen for the user to then drag and drop into the computer hard drive. I can see this work for not only devices connected to Mac computers, but between the devices themselves. It would be very efficient and elegant to copy and share files between two drawn iPads side by side and then watch the contents of one iPad spill onto the next one. Copying will involve the very simple operation of finger dragging and flicking of files onto the next iPad so effortlessly. This gesture and level of file sharing has been mimicked in sci-fi movies such as Minority Report (2002) and Avatar (2009) with devices somewhat resembling the iPad as well as in reality such as Microsoft's Surface Computer (2008). The team at Apple, it seems, are fully capable of bringing such level of interactivity and conundrum of file sharing to a whole new level."

I have sent this piece to the Apple feedback sites, but who knows who reads them.

11th February 2010, 02:24 PM
I love the concept but Apple probably file all such suggestions in their circular filing cabinet (or it's electronic equivalent).