In a new patent application, Apple details an idea it’s experimenting with that would have Apple Watch users shake hands to exchange data (via PatentlyApple). The idea is simple. The patent application imagines two Apple Watch wearers exchanging data, such as contact information, for example, by performing common gestures like a handshake or a hug:
Certain embodiments of the present invention can facilitate the exchange of information (including but not limited to contact information) between user devices (e.g., mobile devices) worn or carried by two different users. The exchange of information can be wholly or partially automated and can occur in response to a device detecting a “greeting 25 event.” In some embodiments, a greeting event is detected when two user devices belonging to different users are in proximity and the users of the devices concurrently execute a greeting gesture, such as a handshake, bow, hand slap, hug, or the like.
While the Apple Watch is the first device we thought of, Apple notes that the application could work with many wearable devices such as “a watch, a ring, a bracelet, a necklace, or any other jewelry item; an item of eyewear, a headband; a belt, a shoe, a scarf, a best, or any other article of clothing.” Apple describes using either Bluetooth LE or NFC, both of which are already built-into Apple Watch, in order to make a connection between devices and facilitate a data exchange when a gesture is recognized.
It’s a feature that’s already possible with our smartphones using Bluetooth and/or NFC and third-party apps, albeit without the use of the handshake gesture that makes a lot of sense for an Apple Watch or other wearable. Apple’s own AirDrop feature for Macs and iOS devices, for example, allows users to share content with nearby devices, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see that same branding come to Apple Watch and integrate with AirDrop on other Apple devices.