updated 11:00 am EST, Thu February 21, 2008
Apple Personal Podcasts
Apple is developing a technology that would let users tailor the content of a podcast to their own needs, says a new US patent filing. Recognizing that current podcasts are essentially one-way downloads, the company describes a system that would let users set criteria that appears in the podcast. Software loaded on the subscriber's computer would either allow direct control of the podcast's contents by the user or else retrieves data already stored on the computer for later use. This information is promptly sent to a server that processes the information and automatically generates both current and future podcasts in a custom RSS feed based on that data; different audio and video could be added to each file from a basic template.
Originally filed just over a year ago in January 2007, the patent application is relatively unique in directly linking the patent to both iTunes and the iPod, suggesting a possible enhancement to both.
Importantly, the patent is also directly linked to Apple's "podmap" patent, which discusses the concept of unique podcasts with map data and voice directions designed for a specific trip. The combination hints that users could specify their geographic location and destination and receive a custom map in the form of a podcast, permitting users without iPhones or other always-on Internet connections to obtain driving directions without resorting to GPS.