Apple's Music Streaming Service to Eliminate Buffering Lag With Locally-Stored Snippets?

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 19, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    As noted by AppleInsider, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent application from Apple describing a system for eliminating delays in streaming media by storing small portions of the content locally on a user's mobile device. The content covered in the patent application, which is entitled "Local Storage of a Portion of Streamed Media Items" and was filed in November 2009, is particularly relevant given claims that Apple is on the verge of rolling out a cloud-based music storage service.
    In essence, local storage requirements can be significantly reduced by keeping only a few seconds' worth of each audio or video file on the device itself. That content could begin playing immediately upon selection by the user as the remainder of the requested file is streamed in the background and seamlessly appended onto the locally-stored portion. The solution seeks to eliminate lag that can be generated by a streaming-only solution as the device builds an initial buffer of content to ensure smooth playback.

    Among the figures included in the patent application is a schematic of an iTunes window showing music syncing preferences for an iPhone where a user can select whether or not to store snippets locally and other options such as the minimum connection speed required by the user to take advantage of the streaming capabilities, thus helping the system determine how much of the content needs to be stored locally. Remote storage of media could be deployed on any of a number of sources, including the user's own home computer, a central server, or directly from a marketplace such as Apple's iTunes Store.

    Article Link: Apple's Music Streaming Service to Eliminate Buffering Lag With Locally-Stored Snippets?
  2. MorphingDragon macrumors 603


    Mar 27, 2009
    The World Inbetween
    Wait... partially store a file on a computer = patent?
  3. dethmaShine macrumors 68000

    Apr 13, 2010
    Into the lungs of Hell
    To be honest, I have very big hopes from Apple this year.

    iTunes Streaming
    Netflix like service
    iDisk capabilities
    iOS 5.0
    Mac OS X Lion
    Complete Sync across all devices
    Apple TV

    WWDC is going to be huge this year.
  4. mainstreetmark macrumors 68020


    May 7, 2003
    Saint Augustine, FL
    I think this, for once, is closer to a proper use of a software patent. Every other similar service everywhere has this buffering step before playing. If Apple has worked out a way around that, they deserve a patent. It's not like they're patenting generic "streaming music". That would be too lodsystic.

    (Not that I support software patents...)
  5. MorphingDragon macrumors 603


    Mar 27, 2009
    The World Inbetween
    Its essentially a file cache on your media player though. Web browsers already do this, partially or completely store website assets to speed up loading.
  6. pmjoe macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2009
    It's called a freaking CACHE file. Can we please put an end to these ridiculous software patents!!!
  7. macsmurf macrumors 65816


    Aug 3, 2007
    It seems all they do is to make a buffer on the hard drive instead of in RAM. Most OS do this already when they run out of memory.

    If that's all it is, the patent is truly ridiculous. Next they'll try to patent hyperlinking. Oh wait, Lodsys already did that.
  8. MorphingDragon macrumors 603


    Mar 27, 2009
    The World Inbetween
    But then overseas attendants can't be amused at the ridiculousness of it all.
  9. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    if they don't patent it...somebody else will and sue Apple in 10 years saying they successfully sold $XXXXXXXXXX songs and they want 1% of sales for doing nothing other than patent the idea that Apple wants to patent.

    I hate buffering sometimes.
  10. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    Sounds genius, but what about when someone wants to scrub through a song or movie to find a specific part? They'd still have to wait for something to download... Unless they had like, scrub spots / keyframes that were stored locally so the file could be skipped about...
  11. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    Not bad! If this can let me store ALL my music in the cloud not just iTunes purchased stuff this system would work phenomenally well.

    Maybe they will scan the hard drive, detect which songs were ripped from an original CD and give you access to those as well. Hmmm...

    Rather than taking up 12GB on every device I own, I could devote maybe 2 or 3GB of space to things I listen to all the time and these snippets, and stream the rest. With a MacBook Air that has limited hard drive space, this could be an extra useful feature!

    The fact that they used "3G" as the minimum connection speed indicates that they primarily see us using this on the go. I wonder what the bandwidth implications will be with mobile data plans!

    This definitely shows some out of the box thinking, as usual for Apple. Unlike Amazon and Google.
  12. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    No thanks. I don't find buffering to be a considerable problem and rather reduce the bloat already included in iTunes.
  13. dustinsc macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2009
    Snippets or not, just get the service out already! I want to listen to my iTunes library at work, where I'm not allowed to store content on the hard drive.
  14. baryon macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    I still don't get this streaming thing: why would I want to stream anything when I can already store all my music on my iPod? Streaming is only good if you want to access content that you don't already own, such as YouTube videos. Otherwise, for music you already have, what's the point?

    I mostly use my iPod on the plane a lot, I don't want to be unable to "stream" my music at a high altitude.

    Why not use an iPod...?
  15. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    If you have let's say a 16GB iPod Touch or iPad, and you have a 10GB music library, maybe 20GB of TV shows and Movies, and 2GB of Apps, you are going to have to pick and choose what you store locally.

    Right now, if you uncheck them, you have no access to them at all on the go. So the one album you thought you'd never listen to remains on your computer while you are on vacation wishing you had access to it right now.

    This way, you can store locally all the stuff you know you are going to listen to or use all the time. Then for the other stuff, rather than being out of reach, you can stream it online. But instead of jumping through hoops, you do it all seamlessly from the same interface and let the device figure out how to get to this content.

    These days, and going forward, internet access is pretty ubiquitous. It's very easy to find a Starbucks anywhere in the US, and Wi-Fi spots are plentiful too. Not to mention many people are now getting onto 3G and 4G internet access via Mi-Fi's or built-in access.

    Basically, connectivity is going to rarely be a problem for most people.
  16. Trius macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Pffff... iPod is so 2000's...
  17. 0815 macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2010
    here and there but not over there
    Maybe this is another of those things forced on Apple by the Music Labels during negotiation to sort of ensure that the user owns the music and is not just sharing the 'login' with all of his friends .....
  18. NebulaClash macrumors 68000


    Feb 4, 2010
    Are you kidding? With our broken patent system, you could patent a method for picking your nose.


    (And yes, think of the prior art . . .)
  19. DotCom2 macrumors 68040

    Feb 22, 2009
    I am curious to know how many people actually are excited or would even use cloud streaming of their music? :confused:
    This just seems so Meh to me.
    I store locally and hence, have no problems.
    Are you excited about cloud streaming music?
  20. css1323 macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2008
    There's an app for that. (lol, wanted to say that)

    I use the Audiogalaxy app quite a lot on my iPhone to stream music that's stored on my hard drive at home. Just install the Satellite software on your PC (which has a very small footprint) and check which folders you want scanned, it'll even read most iTunes playlists you got saved.

    While it doesn't work 100% (still needs work, but developers are constantly pushing out updates), it's still really nice to use. You can see album artwork and everything which is nice. And it's free, so I'm just putting this out there.
  21. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    I am just excited for MobileMe to be revamped. I really, really hope it becomes free at a basic level so I can keep my e-mail going without paying extra. That's my #1 priority.

    Or if it continues to be a paid service, that it gives me enough cloud storage that I can back up my iPhoto, iTunes, and important Documents seamlessly like DropBox.

    Worst case scenario for me: MobileMe continues to be paid, does not offer true cloud integration. Then I may get stuck paying for that and Dropbox.
  22. Eduardo1971 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2006
    Lost Angeles, Ca. usa
    I cannot wait to see this implemented. I have about 150GB of music so this will (hopefully) assist me when chosing songs to carry on my iphone.
  23. kalsta macrumors 68000


    May 17, 2010
    That's it. Like it or not, that's the world we live in.

    Well, the technology might be the same, but that doesn't mean there's no inventiveness involved in applying it to remove the buffering of streaming media.

    Indeed. If no one else is currently doing what Apple's patent describes, that's a fair argument against those who say it's nothing but an obvious application of existing technology.
  24. phillipduran macrumors 65816


    Apr 30, 2008
    I have thousands of songs. I have many of them on an old G5 that I haven't moved over to my new mac or to my iPhone. With streaming, everything gets moved into the iCloud and now I have access to all my songs across all my devices and computers (all devices with WiFi/data connections).

    Instead of all my music in my pocket, I get to use Steve's pockets and Steve has big pockets. ;)

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