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Apple patent hints at satellite radio

updated 05:20 pm EDT, Thu October 19, 2006

Apple, satellite radio

A recently discovered patent application from Apple hints at the company's exploration into satellite radio technology. The filing -- published on October 19th and originally filed in August of 2005 -- refers to two distinct methods of integrating the iPod with satellite services. The first aspect of the patent describes the ability to tune "into a wireless signal (e.g., AM/FM radio, digital radio, or Wi-Fi)" using an iPod-style player with "the capability to accept accessories to add the necessary functionality." While this may refer to Apple's Radio Remote released late in 2005, the patent's explicit mention of support well beyond AM/FM radio is significant and may signal a future add-on that would supply satellite radio directly to the iPod, according to Electronista.

Even more interesting is the description of how such accessories would share information between the iPod and external receivers. In another section of the patent application, Apple refers to an "in-vehicle receiver-player" that would connect to both a music player and an in-car network to synchronize track data between the two connected devices.

"If the in-vehicle receiver-player... is playing audio content that is received from a radio frequency broadcast (e.g., AM, FM, or XM), the portable media device... is able to determine descriptive media information associated with the audio content being played," writes Apple.

The concept would let iPods not only display metadata from live radio (a feature already present in the Radio Remote) but would also enable the user to flag individual songs heard through these mediums -- including XM Satellite Radio -- for a later purchase through a "Media Purchase System" such as the iTunes Music Store.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. e2Sync

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    My guess

    is this is not because Apple wanted to do it, but to stop XMRadio from going ahead and doing it without Apple's blessing.

  1. LordJohnWhorfin

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Who needs XM?

    Sirius is where it's at, baby!

  1. ptkdude

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    SIRIUS

    I seem to remember many months, maybe even 2 years ago the dude-in-charge of SIRIUS talking about discussions they were having with Apple about integrating a SIRIUS receiver in the iPod. Does anyone else recall this or am I crazy?

  1. LordJohnWhorfin

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    It was Mel Karmazin

    He did talk to Jobs, who said such a product would have been too much of a distraction for Apple at that time. Don't forget, satellite radio is a purely American market, whereas the iPod is an international design. Sirius went on to produce the S50 (a feeble iPod wannabe) and now the Stiletto (which requires wearing a dorky antenna/headset thingie for live reception). Any model of iPod, even a specific size and color of nano, outsells satellite radios 10 to 1. Jobs was and is still right, but so was Karmazin for trying to grab a corner of the iPod halo. Now if they can manage to develop an attachment that works well, they may have a killer product that will both boost sales of iPods and Sirius subscriptions. I'd definitely get one, in addition to my existing two receivers. The Nike+iPod has certainly shown that Apple can and will work tightly with other companies when the product is worth it.

  1. pottymouth

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    sat via wifi

    Sirius and XM both have players now that'll use a wifi signal to pick up net streams of their channels when they can't get a sat signal. If Apple is gonna go and build in wifi anyway—which some argue they must to compete with z00n—it seems like the next step would be to work out a deal with the sat companies and get that feature in too.

    ...or maybe they're just covering their bases for the future.

  1. MagicMan

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    US only?

    This may be relevant to those in the US but in the UK (and I think the rest of Europe), there is no satellite radio, only terrestrial based broadcasts. Seams strange that Apple would put a feature in the iPod (or other) which only works in part of the world.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    compete with zune?

    Apple doesn't need to compete with Zune...Zune needs to compete with Apple, or have I been asleep for the past five years?

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