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Apr 12, 2001
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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.

Screen-Shot-2013-08-27-at-3.43.15-pm.png
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.

Screen-Shot-2013-08-27-at-3.52.48-pm.png
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
 

anubis72

macrumors regular
Jan 18, 2004
144
15
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:
 

ctdonath

macrumors 68000
Mar 11, 2009
1,555
555
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:

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.
 

3282868

macrumors 603
Jan 8, 2009
5,281
0
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).
 

SteveJobs2.0

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2012
847
1,441
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).

I just patented your suggestion, now pay me!!!
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2013
672
553
Agreed. If this patent is used, it'll probably be for something more generally useful.

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.
 

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
6,048
2,063
Western US
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:

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.
 

D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
11,051
12,450
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.
 

cmChimera

macrumors 601
Feb 12, 2010
4,067
2,972
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).

They created this and then patented it.
 

TsunamiTheClown

macrumors 6502a
Apr 28, 2011
571
12
Fiery+Cross+Reef
"roving DJ"

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.
 
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