A second patent filing would solve the common problem of having to fill out contact information without necessarily having all the data already in place.
Mail in Mac OS X Leopard already implements triggers known as data receptors, which automatically recognize certain information and can populate a new address book listing with phone numbers and similar data embedded in the message. When that information isn’t already built in, however, the Apple software currently doesn’t have a solution of its own.
The suggested technique in the patent would let users fill in these details over email. A new message to one of the user’s contacts could include a specially-coded request for one or more pieces of information; recipients would only need to accept the request and would then automatically send photos, text, or other data without having to search the computer by hand.
Such a method could also make the requests themselves automatically and so could keep an entire group of users updated just through day-to-day email correspondence.
Apple hasn’t revealed any immediate signs that it plans to implement the technology in a future Mac OS X update, though the filing credits the company’s Senior VP of Software Engineering, Bertrand Serlet, as the sole inventor.