An Apple patent may make it easier/more profitable for photographers to generate income from their images; or Apple just patented gift giving. Patent number 8,131,645 awarded on March 6, 2012 is for a "System and method for processing media gifts". I'm not sure why it took so long, but this has been in the patent system since September 30, 2008.
The abstract states:
"Various techniques are
provided for the gifting between multiple electronic devices of media content
provided by an online digital media provider. An offer and acceptance of a
selected gift file is accomplished between a gifter device and a receiving
giftee device using a near-field communication (NFC) connection.
If a connection to the online provider is available, the gifter device may
transmit a gift request by which the gifter's account is charged for the gift
file. Thereafter, a gift file created using DRM keys associated with the
giftee's account may be downloaded to the giftee device. If a network
connection is unavailable, the giftee device may transfer a locked gift file
and a corresponding gift license to the giftee device using a peer-to-peer
connection. The giftee device may authenticate the license and unlock the gift
file once a connection to the online provider is available."
The basic idea of the above seems that if I have an image bought from Apple and you like it, I can purchase a new set of rights to view on a device and send it to you-say at a party. Alternatively, I could send an email or some sort of message/communication which will provide a link to protected site from which you could purchase rights to the image. As long as Apple does not actually have the patent on gift giving, this seems like a good thing if photographers are willing to work through iTunes as a sales site. The new iPad's "Retina Display" has the potential to be the best device to view art photos. Those photos would have to be high resolution to take advantage of the screen. This could help secure rights of photographers. For good or bad, iTunes could be for photographic images what it is to music/video content providers.