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Apple mulls concept of iTunes kiosks

updated 11:35 am EDT, Thu May 7, 2009

iTunes kiosks coming?

iPod and iPhone owners may eventually be able to fill up their players using dedicated iTunes kiosks, a recent patent application hints. A traditional problem with Apple handhelds has been the limited means of loading new media; even following the advent of the mobile iTunes Store, the main method of adding music and video remains syncing at home. Using a kiosk, Apple notes, people could rapidly load players without a conventional network connection, in places such as airports, malls or hotels, or even within trains and jets.

Apple's proposal involves a hybrid kiosk, which could provide both local and remote media hosting. The local server would supply the media mostly likely to be bought, such as new releases. Shoppers could thus simply swipe a credit card and immediately fill their handhelds. To gain access to the complete iTunes library, users could login with their account information and download files through a dedicated Internet connection.

A dilemma with most media kiosks, Apple remarks, is that they rely on physical device connectors, which can not only wear out but experience deliberate tampering. Creating a Wi-Fi hotspot is an option, but brings with it new problems such as hacking and user overloads. The patent filing instead suggests the idea of a "virtual physical connection," in which the kiosk would somehow detect the presence of a nearby device and only then open up a wireless link.

Beyond iPods and iPhones, the technology could theoretically be extended to support computers and tablets.

by MacNN Staff



  1. David Esrati

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Record stores last stand?

    I had a record store owner think this up about 3 years ago- unfortunately, DRM would have stopped him.
    He's in a poor part of town- and could make it with a system like this.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What about backups?

    If you're downloading to the iPod, and you can't sync it back from your iPod to iTunes, will they let you redownload the content to iTunes when you get home? Hmmm?

  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    When you purchase media from iTunes through the iPhone you can transfer your purchases back to your main computer - it works this way at the moment when you buy music or apps on the phone using the iTunes/App iPhone store.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Um, when you connect your ipod, you have the option to transfer your purchases as well.

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