Sign my ebook? Apple could make autographs digital thanks to new patent

Apple digital signatures
Presumably the autographs would be prettier in real life

There's something magical about getting an autograph from a favorite musician, author or artist, and now Apple is looking to translate that experience to digital content.

Apple's latest scheme, as described in a patent discovered by AppleInsider, would potentially allow artists and other creators to leave digital signatures on fans' devices.

The signatures would be unique and tied permanently to the recipient's copy of the digital content being signed, and would naturally be authenticated and exist on the cloud.

That's right. The new-age problem of coming face-to-face with an idol only to realize you've got nothing for them to sign (vinyl fans with records in-hand notwithstanding) could soon become a thing of the past.

Digital signing

The patent, titled "Embedding an autograph in an electronic book," focuses extensively on ebooks and the ability for an author to leave digital signatures on fans' copies.

The act could even be limited geographically so that signatures could only be issued at a certain time and place, like in a book store during a signing.

The authentication happens on the author's device, which carries certification of the author's identity that's then transferred along with with the autograph itself over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to fans' devices.

In other examples, the signing happens remotely over the internet.

Save the Sharpies!

Digital autographs could theoretically be applied to movies, music and other types of content, not just books, though things get murkier when there's not an obvious location to leave a mark.

Naturally, just like in real life, the autographs wouldn't be limited only to actual signatures, and artists would potentially be able to send photos, sound bites and more.

Digital signatures could add value to online content being sold through marketplaces like iTunes, not to mention creating another way for eager fans to interact with their favorite artists.

And hey, it will save a lot of precious Sharpie ink if this ever makes it out into the world.

Via TechCrunch

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.