Apple Patent Reveals Interest in 'Silent Disco' App Technology for iOS Devices

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    An unusual patent awarded to Apple today suggests that the company is looking into the possibility of integrating so-called "silent disco" technology into its upcoming devices, according to AppleInsider. The patent, No. 8,521,316, was first filed back in March 2010 and lists Sylvain Louboutin, a former Apple software engineer who now works at Roku as its inventor. It describes a "coordinated group musical experience" in which a "personal communication device" can be used to share music with a group of people.

    The patent describes a system whereby musical characteristics such as tempo (BPM) are shared with nearby users and the user's device will automatically select songs that are similar in nature. The system would transmit the digital information of a song being played by one user, or the "roving DJ" as the patent calls it, to any connected devices over the local network. Unlike traditional silent discos, where the same song is transmitted across radio frequencies, this system will use the songs that are already present on a user's device, presumably due to copyright reasons.

    The technology is similar to the latest craze dubbed "mobile clubbing", where a group of people get together in one place and dance to their own music. Location, however, is not a deciding factor with Apple's system, as the signals can be transmitted over any means of wireless communication, including the Internet, Bluetooth and local wireless networks.

    In other embodiments of the patent, users of the system can "rotate" DJs, so other people can select songs for the group to listen to. The patent notes that the system can be contained within one single application that is downloadable from the App Store.

    Although this technology may not be implemented into any upcoming Apple products, it does present an interesting question of sharing music among iTunes users, which may be a key goal for Apple going forward. Its last foray into music-based social networking was Ping, which officially closed at the start of October last year after the service failed to impress its users.

    Article Link: Apple Patent Reveals Interest in 'Silent Disco' App Technology for iOS Devices
  2. macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2010
    New York
    Silent Disco sounds like the title of a '70s horror movie.
  3. macrumors regular


    Jun 6, 2007
    Louisiana, United States
    This is very odd... seems like a guarded way of patenting a feature without listing exactly what you want to use it for in the patent itself.
  4. macrumors member

    Feb 29, 2012
    Those stick people throwing shapes made me lol.
  5. macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2006
    Sounds like something ImprovEverywhere would like to see implemented for their annual MP3 experiment
  6. macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2004
    How they gonna pull this off? I have a hard enough time trying to share my songs between computers/iTunes accounts that I OWN, let alone someone else jumping into the mix...:eek:
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2011
    Cue the "I can't believe it's not butter" comments.
  8. macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    At a glance, looks like it works by identifying songs with the "correct" beats-per-minute and matching a BPM profile (ex.: slow-fast-med-fast). You listen to your own music, beat-synced with everyone else's even though they may not be listening to the same thing.
  9. macrumors 603


    Jan 8, 2009
    First create it, then patent it.

    It's one thing to patent how to make a flying car, it's another to patent the idea of a flying car. It may not apply to this situation, but at some point patents should not be granted for "idea's" unless it is a patent on "how" to make it happen.

    What's next, Hanna-Barbera sues company who creates a flying car?

    Stop patenting idea's, patent methods. Two entirely different things. If we don't, patents will stifle innovation, hurting consumers in the interim (and making patent lawyers wealthy).
  10. macrumors 6502

    Mar 9, 2012
    I just patented your suggestion, now pay me!!!
  11. macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    Upper Midwest
    Agreed. If this patent is used, it'll probably be for something more generally useful.
  12. macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2013
    Right. The critical thing is about the mechanism used for data sharing and collaboration. The potential use as a "silent disco" is but one possibility for such a system, and likely one that intentionally distracts from the real reason they're working on this.
  14. macrumors 601


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    You're not actually sharing songs, just metadata such as beats per minute (tempo), maybe genre, so very low bandwidth information that would probably fit in a tweet or SMS (not that they would use that). The system is still choosing songs on your own device, I guess it's so people can dance together by matching beats and style while not being subjected to a DJ's crappy selection (or your friend's crappy musical tastes). Obviously, headphones required. Kinda weird, but whatever.
  15. macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    I always thought Apple should create a Broadcast Playlist, where someone playing a song could allow people to discover the song artist/title/etc. Maybe it would be an opt-in broadcast, where you'd see "DT is sharing his playlist", and you could jus tap "listen".

    Not unlike Shazam, but instead of having to listen and use sound recog (and use a 3rd party app), it would be integrated into the Music App and would Piggyback on the same sort of peer based networking as AirShare. One of the tabs would be "Recently Shared [or Heard]" which of course could provide a simple one-tap to purchase through iTunes.
  16. macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
    They created this and then patented it.
  17. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
    This is probably the best patent i have ever seen.

    We can't have just any punks trying to be legit roving DJs now can we. I mean, a roving DJ needs creds. And any self-respecting flash-rave needs a roving DJ.

    Apple is merely looking into the future and solving a cosmic problem, that quite frankly, I was completely unaware of.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Jul 28, 2012
  19. macrumors 6502a


    May 9, 2005
    somewhere outside your window...
    Me too...until I realised that they dance better than me :(
  20. macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    Would probably use it more often than ping...
  21. macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2011
  22. macrumors member


    Oct 24, 2006
    Silicon Valley
    No, no, no. Think "Love At First Bite" with "I Love The Nightlife" dance song. :cool:
  23. macrumors 68000

    Mar 5, 2012
    Central California
  24. macrumors 68040


    Jul 6, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    Sounds like Samsung's Group Play feature.

    EDIT: Not really but kind of.
  25. macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2006
    Where I live
    That's not saying much... :D

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