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Apple patenting Zune-like sharing, wireless buying

updated 10:20 am EDT, Thu July 12, 2007

Apple Zune-Like Patent

Apple may be ready to not only bring wireless file sharing to the iPhone and iPod but could affect Microsoft's Zune as well, according to the details of a newly publicized patent. The filing would allow fully mobile devices such as cellphones and MP3 players to automatically discover each other on a local network, similar to the way the Zune can recognize nearby devices on its Wi-Fi connection; also as with the Microsoft jukebox, owners would be able to "push" media and other files to other devices. But the patent's implementation would also let a device make such requests, Apple says, allowing one handheld to pick files for download in a way the Zune currently forbids. A wireless sync method could automate these requests simply by coming near the right device.

One version of Apple's technique would also use a central pool of information rather than a direct transfer. Devices could grab content from a remote server as part of the mobile-to-mobile link, and could accomplish the same through a local server or a nearby computer that hosts the content itself. Users could even create a random or semi-random effect through this method by telling the device or server on the opposite end to randomly load the device with content, similar to the way the iPod shuffle's AutoFill creates a new mix of songs through USB.

Importantly, this wireless request would also include purchases -- addressing the common request that Apple's handhelds, particularly the iPhone, be able to purchase media themselves. In cases where data is bought, a future Apple device could either earmark tracks for later download, similar to the way the Zune can flag shared songs, or else download the track directly and sync the resulting content later with a computer or another portable.

While it's currently unclear as to whether or not the patent would directly hurt Microsoft's ability to implement enhanced Wi-Fi, having been originally filed less than three months before the Zune's mid-November launch, the technology described inside explicitly greenlights not just device-to-device media library transfers and iTunes Store interaction but also general file transfers that may be useful for phones, such as contacts and user profiles.





By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. UberFu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2002

    0

    I guaran--damn--tee you

    that it will be nothing like the Zune and it's mighty abilities_

    MacNN: Stupid headline_

    It should read more that the Patent will allow what Apple has already been doing for years with AppleTalk and Rendezvous [now Bonjour] - only wirelessly - and guess what that functionality has already been there anyway on the desktop/laptops_ They're just migrating it to the new toys_

  1. mmmdoughnuts

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2006

    0

    Stupid uberfu

    Your guarantee? What is that worth? Have you looked at the patents? Prove it or go away. Stop wasting bandwidth with your assertions.

  1. Herod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    0

    when will someone...

    speculate that this is leading to some sort of satellite space station of information that apple is prepairing to launch sometime around the end of august?

  1. lockhartt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2000

    0

    sarcasm?

    "that it will be nothing like the Zune and it's mighty abilities_ "

    I, unlike mmmdoughnuts, am assuming this comment is pure sarcasm, as no one on the face of the planet has ever referred to the Zune's abilities as "mighty" in any way shape or form... not even MS fanboys. Most have criticized the limitations of the the "squirt" model (just typing that makes me cringe... stupid name), labeling it as more a novelty than anything.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    But

    If its like the Zune's capabilities, or like what Apple (and others as well) have been doing on computers, how can they patent it?

  1. manleycreative

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2005

    0

    I will speculate…

    Jobs is planning a satellite space station called "Asteroid M" and is secretly having it constructed as we speak. Attached to this "Asteroid" is a "laser" developed as part of the "Alan Parson's Project" which will enable Apple to literally destroy every copy of "Vista" on the planet causing a mass exodus to use of OS X and thus allow for Apple music file sharing technology to be truly homogenous (sp?).

    Sources say Jobs has a model "Globe" sitting in his office right now with a model "laser" mounted on it. The iPhone will be the trigger for this global "attack".

  1. Roehlstation

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    re: but

    they can patent it because no one else has.

    But really this only like the Zune in that on the zune you can only see other Zunes, the model Apple is bringing is you can see other devices as well as computers running iTunes and sharing their library, and also allows you to purchase songs you find on other devices by directing you to the iTunes Music Store and purchase and download the item.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: i will speculate

    Foolish mortal. Don't you realize that would never get off the ground like that. The Google fanboys will be suing Apple's asses for swiping the Asteroid name...

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    Re: iphone

    Well, they're using the same service verizon uses. So I would guess they'd get the same capabilities.

    And slingbox (I believe) makes devices to route your TV/video feed to your cell phone as it occurs (so you can watch that important ice skating competition on ESPN while wasting your time at your friends wedding).

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