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A Cloud Based Safe Deposit Box

With OS X nearing its launch this summer, we just might have gotten a glimpse at either a Time Machine or MobileMe upgrade in one of this week’s patents. Apple wants to beef up sensitive document security for average consumers and they want to do it in a way that will get consumers used to trusting Apple branded cloud based software and/or services. Even if you don’t have sensitive documents like a Living Will or Home Insurance Policy that you want to protect, everyone wants to protect their investment in iTunes! You’ve invested a lot of money in your music, movies, books and app purchases – and that’s reason enough to want to use this upcoming new feature relating to a virtual safe deposit box. While there may not be diamonds in the sky as the Beatles once described, the cloud is where the industry thinks the money is heading in the future. And with that in mind, Apple wants consumers to trust them on this front early on, beginning with a friendly little app called the safe deposit box.

Apple has filed a patent for a new Safe Deposit Box feature that would automatically encrypt and store your important files in the cloud, according to Patently Apple.

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.

A key aspect of the Safe Deposit Box feature is that your files could be stored off site; perhaps using MobileMe or even another location you specify. “the user computer is also optionally coupled to one or more remote storage devices 412 through a network 414 (e.g., the Internet). The remote storage devices could be, for example, other computers such as a server bank or cloud storage.”

It’s thought that this could be one of the features Apple introduces in Mac OS X Lion.

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