Apple autograph patent aims to replace physical John Hancocks

Apple has been granted a patent for an application that lets authors, artists and musicians issue autographs to individual consumers. First filed by inventors Casey Maureen Dougherty and Melissa Breglio Hajj in 2012, the invention describes how such an autograph can be guaranteed to be unique, addressing concerns the invention could otherwise be used to mass-produce or plagiarize prized John Hancocks.

The application would work either via Bluetooth in person or via the Internet. In a personal setting, a digital token would be included with the autograph to prove authenticity. In the cloud, the data would be keyed and encrypted to the intended recipient's device. Autographs can also be sent to multiple devices simultaneously.

In any case, autographs would remain unique and in the sole possession of the recipients. As for where in a media file an autograph can be inserted, that remains up in the air. Some renderings of the invention limit the area to a specific location (such as the title page of a book), while others are more flexible, allowing authors and artists to sign anywhere.

The technology can also be used not just for stylus-rendered signatures, but also for images, audio and video, all of which would be processed by the same methods. As the invention is, as per usual for Apple, very broad and open-ended, no rules have been set in stone at this point, and no release date has been hinted at.

Is this something users would want? We're curious to know what you think. Would you take a digital autograph over a physical one on a paperback? Would it be as meaningful — and would you be confident about Apple's authentication protocols?

SOURCE: Apple Insider