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Old Jan 21, 2014, 08:49 AM   #1
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Apple Details Automatic Station Tuning Function for Audio and Video Content




Apple has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider) detailing a "station tuning" function for a media player or mobile device that would curate a playlist filled with both audio and visual content based on a user's interests.

The patent, which was originally filed in 2008, details a system that would automatically pull from content streams such as radio broadcasts, television broadcasts, and onboard media to deliver a custom playlist, and would also factor in metadata and user patterns when selecting different types of content. The tuning function is similar to the Genius feature currently found in iTunes, but extends well beyond the selection of music and into a variety of content.

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The media player may automatically tune to one of the sources based on user preferences or criteria to output the currently playing content. The media player may tune to a source or switch from one source to another source based a user's tastes for music, a give volume level, an aversion to talk radio, or other user preferences or criteria. The media player may also queue or schedule forthcoming content on a given source for playback to the user.
In terms of controlling the tuning function, the patent details a gesture controlled graphical user interface that resembles a radio tuner. The interface itself would allow for previews of stations, as well as the ability to search for specific content based on criteria and when to trigger the station tuning.

Factors such as the volume, color, hue, and saturation attributes of content may also be used to determine what to include next in a playlist, with the function also being able to determine and show relevant advertisements or whether to skip them altogether based on a user's listening patterns.

It is unknown when or even if Apple plans to integrate a station tuning function into an existing product, but such a feature would fit well into Apple's iTunes Radio. While Apple already includes a host of stations to choose from in iTunes Radio including a "Featured Stations" function, integrating station tuning with content beyond audio would be an appealing addition for the service.

Article Link: Apple Details Automatic Station Tuning Function for Audio and Video Content
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 08:54 AM   #2
edolecki
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Nice

I can't wait to see how it's implemented and how well it performs.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 08:55 AM   #3
osx11
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Six year old patent should not make front page news.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by osx11 View Post
Six year old patent should not make front page news.
Could be worse....like Phil Schiller unfollowing Tony Fadell on twitter, which made the front page of three other sites.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:13 AM   #5
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Six year old patent should not make front page news.
Do they always take this long to be awarded or is this normal? Anyone know why the process is so lengthy?
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:16 AM   #6
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Do they always take this long to be awarded or is this normal? Anyone know why the process is so lengthy?
Yes, it takes a long time. It takes a long time because there are a ton of patents filed, and each one has to be examined so there is a backlog. There is also a lot of back and forth between the applicant and the PTO about the validity of the patent, which takes a good bit of time.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:28 AM   #7
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When Steve Jobs said that he "cracked" the TV interface/industry problem -- this patent could have merit.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:31 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Grimace View Post
When Steve Jobs said that he "cracked" the TV interface/industry problem -- this patent could have merit.
i thought he meant the way that we interact with the tv. sort of like the kinect or something like that.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:36 AM   #9
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Novel Idea, but...

Just wondering: why can't Apple install actual AM/FM radio receivers in our iDevices? They are pretty tiny (they're in the iPod Nano's I believe?), and as much as terrestrial radio gets dogged by some folks, it would save enormous amounts of bandwidth for all of us who (for instance) listen to local stations on our daily commutes. Nevermind the number of live sports events that we pay to listen to via Apps (MLB, etc.), even when they are local.

Wouldn't be groundbreaking, but I'm betting it would be used by customers more than highly trumpeted features such as FaceTime or Newsstand.

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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by cfountain72 View Post
Just wondering: why can't Apple install actual AM/FM radio receivers in our iDevices? They are pretty tiny (they're in the iPod Nano's I believe?), and as much as terrestrial radio gets dogged by some folks, it would save enormous amounts of bandwidth for all of us who (for instance) listen to local stations on our daily commutes. Nevermind the number of live sports events that we pay to listen to via Apps (MLB, etc.), even when they are local.

Wouldn't be groundbreaking, but I'm betting it would be used by customers more than highly trumpeted features such as FaceTime or Newsstand.

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this would take away from the revenue ads from iTunes Radio.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 09:52 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by cmChimera View Post
Yes, it takes a long time. It takes a long time because there are a ton of patents filed, and each one has to be examined so there is a backlog. There is also a lot of back and forth between the applicant and the PTO about the validity of the patent, which takes a good bit of time.
What happens if another company makes use of the innovation in the pending patent before it's officially awarded?

----------

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Originally Posted by cfountain72 View Post
Just wondering: why can't Apple install actual AM/FM radio receivers in our iDevices? They are pretty tiny (they're in the iPod Nano's I believe?), and as much as terrestrial radio gets dogged by some folks, it would save enormous amounts of bandwidth for all of us who (for instance) listen to local stations on our daily commutes. Nevermind the number of live sports events that we pay to listen to via Apps (MLB, etc.), even when they are local.

Wouldn't be groundbreaking, but I'm betting it would be used by customers more than highly trumpeted features such as FaceTime or Newsstand.

Peace be with you.
I would love this as well. There's still many good radio stations and many people who listen to them. But Apple probably thinks the good old FM radio is ancient just like the floppy drive, cd drive, ethernet port, firewire port....etc...

Do Android smartphones come with AM/FM receivers?
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 10:06 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by luckydcxx View Post
i thought he meant the way that we interact with the tv. sort of like the kinect or something like that.
I never thought he meant that.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 10:18 AM   #13
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Sort of a buzzfeed?
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 10:26 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Grimace View Post
When Steve Jobs said that he "cracked" the TV interface/industry problem -- this patent could have merit.
Exactly what came to my mind when I read the above article.

I know how much flicking through channels I do on my satellite TV system, looking for something that appeals to me (and maybe whoever else is in the room) only to find a movie or program which started 20 minutes ago. I then either watch the rest of that movie/program or switch to Apple TV and get a suggestion from Netflix which I can watch in its entirety.

I would love to receive push notifications about scheduled programs about to start alongside on-demand programs available for streaming. Ideally have these suggestions take account of the other people in the room and their age/preferences. One option would be via Bluetooth Low Energy "Apple ID" bracelets perhaps? See here for a blog post I made on this a while back: http://www.agiledomain.co.uk/dev-blo...6/iwatch-or-id)
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 10:54 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by luckydcxx View Post
this would take away from the revenue ads from iTunes Radio.
That is probably true, and is a shame. But if they are truly looking to provide the 'best possible products' as Tim Cook is fond of saying, this would seem to be a reasonable addition.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 10:56 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by cfountain72 View Post
why can't Apple install actual AM/FM radio receivers in our iDevices?
AM radios get pretty darned noisy when located very close to computing devices.

FM radios are also subject to noise issues (though not as bad as AM), and like CDs probably don't have enough use to warrant the complexities & costs of inclusion.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 11:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by osx11 View Post
What happens if another company makes use of the innovation in the pending patent before it's officially awarded?
You can probably get royalties from the date the patent was published (different than awarded, usually 18 months after filing). This is assuming that it is actually infringing, and that the published claims aren't any different than the issued claims. You can also force them to stop using the invention if they are still producing it.

I hope that makes sense. Patents are little complicated, so trying to simplify explanations can be difficult at times.
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 01:01 PM   #18
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Apple could maybe focus on delivering a Music app that doesn't suck. They're leaving their legacy in the dirt. They should have the best music-playing app, since they already conquered the market. Radio is nice, but HELLO people still have libraries!
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Old Jan 21, 2014, 01:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfountain72 View Post
Just wondering: why can't Apple install actual AM/FM radio receivers in our iDevices? They are pretty tiny (they're in the iPod Nano's I believe?), and as much as terrestrial radio gets dogged by some folks, it would save enormous amounts of bandwidth for all of us who (for instance) listen to local stations on our daily commutes. Nevermind the number of live sports events that we pay to listen to via Apps (MLB, etc.), even when they are local.

Wouldn't be groundbreaking, but I'm betting it would be used by customers more than highly trumpeted features such as FaceTime or Newsstand.

Peace be with you.
Apple's iPhone's do have radio receivers built into their chips, only - Apple does not choose to use them for obvious reasons.
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