Apple has applied for a patent on a system that would make it easy for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users to share apps with one another. Basically you could download a paid app and then instead of just telling your friend how cool it is and that he should download it from the App Store, you’d be able to send the app directly to your friend’s iOS device.

App developers would be able to set restrictions, so that for instance you could share a paid game for free — but the paid app may only run 5 times, or it may have a time limit or other restriction. That way you’d be able to give your friend a taste of the app without losing a sale for the developer.

The service also makes it easier for your friend to find the app and download it from the App Store himself if he wants the full version. You don’t have to tell him the name, publisher, or other details — because the app is already on his mobile device. In other words, app sharing might not just be for paid apps. The service could be used for free apps as well, since it could make the overall experience of app discovery more social.

Apple suggests there could also be incentives for users to share apps. For instance, if your friend purchases the app, you may receive a commission or other reward.

via GottaBeMobile and Patently Apple

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...