Apple Details Automatic Station Tuning Function for Audio and Video Content

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.

    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
  2. macrumors newbie


    Mar 16, 2009

    I can't wait to see how it's implemented and how well it performs.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2011
    Six year old patent should not make front page news.
  4. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
    Could be Phil Schiller unfollowing Tony Fadell on twitter, which made the front page of three other sites.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    Do they always take this long to be awarded or is this normal? Anyone know why the process is so lengthy?
  6. macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
    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.
  7. macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    When Steve Jobs said that he "cracked" the TV interface/industry problem -- this patent could have merit.
  8. macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2013
    i thought he meant the way that we interact with the tv. sort of like the kinect or something like that.
  9. macrumors member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    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.

    Peace be with you.
  10. macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2013
    this would take away from the revenue ads from iTunes Radio.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2011
    What happens if another company makes use of the innovation in the pending patent before it's officially awarded?


    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?
  12. macrumors 68020

    Nov 2, 2006
    I never thought he meant that.
  13. macrumors 65816

    Nov 30, 2010
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 22, 2007
    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:
  15. macrumors member

    Dec 5, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    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.
  16. macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    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.
  17. macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
    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.
  18. macrumors regular

    May 8, 2011
    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!
  19. macrumors 603


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

Share This Page