Apple filed for a patent for sharing apps between phones, according to Gizmodo. If Apple were to add this to the iPhone, users could share apps with friends and possibly earn rewards or iTunes credit when a friend buys their app.
If a user has an app that he or she wants to share with a friend, the user could turn on the sharing system and then perform some sort of action which would show the app to be shared to other iPhones on the same network or even over the cellular data network. The other person would see the shared app and be able to download it for free at first.
If the first person that shared the app had a friend eventually purchase it, there would be some sort of incentive or reward given to the first party for recommending the app, which the person’s friend then bought. The person receiving the recommendation would possibly receive a full copy of the app or a demo version of the app. They could then purchase the app using their own iTunes account. If the first option is chosen, the shared app would be fully functional but would expire after a period of time.
Another interesting means of sharing an app might include uploading the app to a shared storage location. For example, a Starbucks could have such a location for customers to share apps with one another. The same kinds of limits as the peer-to-peer sharing would apply, so the app would either be a limited demo or a full-featured but expiring version.
If this is integrated with the current iOS and iTunes ecosystem it could change the way users find and recommend apps. The new system would be far more convenient than searching for the app in the App Store and then installing the app. Apple’s patent is pending and even it goes through there is no guarantee that they will incorporate the feature any time soon.