Apple Files Patent For The ‘Virtual Safe Deposit Box’

Following reports from The Wall Street Journal last week, which suggested that Apple was planning a major revamp to MobileMe this summer that would include a “digital locker” service and wireless access to iTunes, PatentlyApple now reports that Apple has recently filed a patent with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office which covers something called a ‘virtual safe deposit box’.

Apple’s virtual safe deposit box is depicted as a new feature of Mac OS X (Likely set to be part of Lion) which allows users to store important files in the cloud. You can drag one or more files into the software and they will be immediately uploaded to your digital “safe deposit box” in the sky (cloud), complete with full encryption.

Here’s the basis:

Apple’s patent is about a safe deposit box for securing important user files. In one aspect, when a user drags-and-drops a file representation onto a safe deposit box icon, the file is secured. In another aspect, when a user selects the safe deposit box icon and verifies his or her identity, the user could access secured files through a safe deposit box window.

Advantages perceived by this invention include first and foremost that files could be securely stored and that copies of important files could be automatically generated and protected. In addition, file loss could be minimized; confidential information within a file could be protected; users could more easily secure the files that matter the most to them; users could be provided with an interface for protecting valuables that mimics a physical safe deposit box at a bank, a personal safe, or another way of safekeeping valuables. And lastly, the safe deposit box interface could allow access to files for only short periods of time to minimize the risk of an unauthorized user viewing the files.

Speculation now surrounds whether or not this new feature will somehow tie in with iOS (as MobileMe does now), with 9to5Mac even suggesting it could replace the need for external hard drives.

This new service from Apple could even be a replacement for external hard drives. People use external hard drives for computer backups in case the information on their computer is lost or stolen. If that information is stolen, the chances of your external hard drive being stolen are pretty high as well. This new solution would allow users to use Apple’s new giant data center in North Carolina. Perhaps this will be “another reason to own a Mac.”

[PatentlyApple via 9to5Mac]

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