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Apple Invents New Quick Scanning Method of Automatically Accessing New Wireless Networks

30. Patent Application
On March 6, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled "Wi-Fi Credential Sharing using Images." Setting up your iDevices to a new wireless network at coffee shops or other entertainment hubs is time consuming. Wouldn't it be nice to just tell Siri to set it up for you and be done with it? Well, Apple's invention covers just that and more.


Apple's Patent Background


In order to access a wireless network, an electronic device typically needs the network name and credentials (such as a passcode). In the case of a cellular-telephone network, this information is usually contained in memory on the electronic device. However, in order to access other wireless networks, a user of the electronic device may have to perform multiple operations.


For example, a coffeehouse may provide a wireless network for its customers. To facilitate access to the wireless network, a customer may be given a wireless-network password on their receipt. Subsequently, in order to join the wireless network, the customer may have to first enable wireless-network access on their electronic device, and then manually enter the password. Performing these operations is time-consuming and cumbersome, which degrades the user experience.


Apple Invents a New Quick'n Easy Solution for Setting up your iDevices to Wireless Networks


Apple's invention generally relates to techniques for sharing information to facilitate quicker access to wireless networks.


In response to the hassle of setting up a wireless connection with your iDevice, such as a Starbucks or any other facility offering free Wi-Fi to their customers, Apple has created a new solution. In particular, after an iDevice receives an image that includes a representation of access information for the wireless network, the program module extracts the access information from the image. Then, the electronic device accesses the wireless network using the access information.




For example, after purchasing a beverage at a coffee shop, the user may receive the access information in the form of a QR code printed on their receipt. Alternatively or additionally, the QR code may be printed on a menu.


In response, the iDevice user could take a photo of the QR code with their iDevice camera and the wireless connection could automatically be set up for you. An alternative way to do this could be using your personal digital assistant Siri. According to Apple, the image may be captured by Siri in response to a user command to "scan."


Alternatively or additionally, the user may respond to an alert displayed in a window in a user interface, such as in the Notification Center window; and/or the user may activate a scan feature when they enable Wi-Fi access in another window in the user interface.


Apple states that the access information, which may include a name of the wireless network, a password (or a passcode) and/or an expiration time for the password is extracted automatically without action by the iDevice user.


Yes, nice and simple thank you. That's Apple. Now we just need Apple to get this nifty feature out for the iPhone 6. C'mon guys – don't drag bringing this to market. Cheers.


Patent Credits


Apple credits Artiom Shamis, Kapil Chhabra and Tito Thomas as the inventors of patent application 20140068727 which was originally filed in Q3 2012.


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