Apple App Could Turn Strangers Into Walking ATMs

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Looking to slake your thirst, you’ve saddled up to the bar at your favorite watering hole,  when you realize you don’t have any cash. And since this pub only takes cold, hard greenbacks, you’re in a real pickle, especially since the nearest ATM means hoofing it five blocks in the snow.

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Wait. Before you bundle up and head out in search of some bread, Steve Jobs’ brainchild — the cool guy down at the end of the bar — has got you covered.

From the infinite, ever-enlightening well of Apple’s patent cache comes this: an app that would turn strangers into ATMs.

Filed in 2011 and made public last week, Apple’s patent details an “ad-hoc cash-dispensing network that allows users to efficiently exchange cash.”

The idea is that cash-strapped users would summon their app, which effectively uses their location to locate other people in the vicinity who are flush with cash and have made themselves available as ATMs through the network.

Those seeking cash would make their request and potential bankers would indicate their decision to dispense with an ‘x’ to say they’ve declined, a question mark for ambivalence or a star to say they’ve accepted. After that, customer and client would rendezvous and make the exchange.

And just like real ATMs, the service would come complete with transaction fees. For example, a $50 transaction would net the cash dispenser $3 while Apple would take a $5 cut, all of which would be debited from and credited to the appropriate users’ Apple account. While getting gouged for a 16 percent loss sounds a little steep, those hungry for cash have been known to overlook such trivialities. Desperate times: desperate measures.

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The network would feature user-rated profiles and reviews to help identify trustworthy Good Samaritans to do your banking with. While the app would provide a small financial incentive for walking around flush with cash, I’d be a little skeptical about joining any social network that identified me as someone who routinely walks around with a bunch of dead presidents in my pockets.

via DVICE, New Scientist

Credit: Corbis