February 4, 2013

New Apple Patent Turns iPhone Users Into Roving ATMs

It’s a common refrain uttered by parents ‘round the world: “What do I look like, an ATM machine?”

Now, thanks to a recently discovered patent application by Apple, these parents (and every other iOS user) may very well transform into such cash dispensing machines.

It must be noted that, for now, this is nothing but a patent application. Apple files for patents for any crazy idea they dream up, such as displays that turn into speakers, solar-powered iPods, and even styluses.

This is nothing more than a patent at the time being. The system described has clearly been invented by the same company that lets customers pick up products from their shelves, wave them in front of an iPhone, and walk out.

Discovered by UnwiredView.com, the patent titled “Ad-hoc cash dispensing network” aims to capitalize on Apple’s gigantic network of iOS users, enabling them to help one another out in times of need.

According to the patent filing, released today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, this patent details a network that includes “a cash-dispensing server, a network, and a plurality of client terminals that connect to the cash-dispensing server through the network.”

Here’s how it works: iPhone User Number 1 uses the “iCash” app (a completely fictional name created by the writer for this story) to manage his or her banking account and credit cards. User Number 1 finds himself or herself suddenly in need for some folding money. Alas, the closest ATM is located five miles away, and User Number 1 is without transportation and needs the money now. With the system detailed in this patent application, iPhone User Number 1 can launch iCash, enter in the amount of cash needed, their current location, (though the phone will probably do this part on its own) and how far they’re willing to travel for this cash. This is where the magic happens.

Other iCash users within a preset range of User Number 1’s location will receive a message, alerting them to their fellow iPhone user’s need. iPhone User Number 2 agrees to front Number 1 the cash they need, the two meet, and the paper money exchanges hands. Once this is done, the money is deducted from User Number 1’s iCash account and electronically deposited into User Number 2’s account, plus a small service fee.

This idea sounds amazing on paper, but in reality, there is a myriad of security issues that would need to be worked out in order to protect users. For instance, sending out a request for cash into the ether could be akin to shooting fish in a barrel to those given to thievery or violence.

Again, it’s only a patent application, but a very cool one nonetheless.

Let’s hope for the best.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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