Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Archived Post

Apple patent involves ‘collaborative document editing’

Apple has been granted a patent for “collaborative document editing,” which hints at enhanced features for the iCloud collaboration features available for Pages, Keynotes, and Numbers users.

In the patent filing, Apple notes that multi-user collaboration on documents is often necessary in industry, academics and other endeavors. For example, software developers may need to collaborate while writing a software architecture document. Students may need to collaborate on a presentation or academic paper.

Collaboration on a document is often accomplished by editing the document sequentially (e.g., one collaborator can edit the document at a time). Alternatively, collaboration on a document can be accomplished by having each collaborator edit a different version of the document and then merging the documents together. Apple says that “these methods of collaborating on a document can often be cumbersome, time consuming and inefficient.” Not surprisingly, the company thinks it can change this.

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Various features and processes related to document collaboration are disclosed. In some implementations, animations are presented when updating a local document display to reflect changes made to the document at a remote device. In some implementations, a user can selectively highlight changes made by collaborators in a document. 

“In some implementations, a user can select an identifier associated with another user to display a portion of a document that includes the other user’s cursor location. In some implementations, text in document chat sessions can be automatically converted into hyperlinks which, when selected, cause a document editor to perform an operation.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.