Patent Watch: The iPhone Remote + Group Music Sharing

Patent Watch: The iPhone Remote + Group Music Sharing


It’s been a while since we’ve covered new filings by Apple at the USPTO. However, a bunch of new filings to surface through the patent body, this week, are rather interesting to say the least.

The first is U.S Patent No. 8,519,820, entitled “Systems and Methods For Saving and Restoring Scenes in a Multimedia System.” The patent specifically describes a system that “allow[s] the states of the components in [a] multimedia system to be captured in a scene.” Once the scene has been saved, Apple then notes that the scene can be “restored at a later time.”

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Apple goes on to note that such a system could see the iPhone one day act as a “remote control system” for the recommending of scenes, by “comparing states of components in the current scene with states of components in saved scenes.”

“The remote control system can also recommend scenes based on usage patterns. Moreover, the remote control system can allow users to designate one or more saved scenes as favorite scenes.”

Apple claims the rights to a number of aspects regarding the method described in the filing, including:

1. The discovering of at least one component operative to be controlled by an electronic device;
2. The receiving of a state broadcast from at least one component, wherein the state comprises software and hardware settings of at least one component;
3. The detecting of a user instruction to save the state; and
4. The saving of the state of at least one component in response to this detecting.

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Breaking down its claims over the previously described “save state” functionality, Apple claims the rights over the methods involved in the:

1. Receiving of a user instruction to restore a scene that includes the state of at least one component;
2. Retrieving of the state of at least one component from a preference file;
3. Transmitting of the state to at least one component, if the at least one component is operative to be controlled;
4. Receiving of a user instruction to edit the scene; and
5. The providing of options for a user to delete at least one component from the scene, and add a new available component to the scene.

The basic idea is to have the iPhone, first; automatically know when and on which device you wish to play your media. This is dependent on a number of factors, including; setting, your mood, (etc.). Next, Apple wants to give you complete control over your media, allowing you to not only pick-up where you last left off, but have the iPhone suggest recommended content for you to watch and enjoy based on; the current show you’re watching, your usage patterns in watching shows which are similar to (or the same as) the one you’re currently watching, and possible even based on which actors were involved in the making of the show you’re currently watching.

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In a separate patent, Apple adds to this idea of the iPhone one day becoming your universal “remote control,” by extending its use to initiating a (silent) group music experience.

U.S Patent No. 8,521,316, entitled “Coordinated Group Musical Experience” describes a method in which a user can “[Share a] music experience amongst a group of people each using a personal communication device.”

In some cases, Apple says, this would mean that the group could “congregate at the same geographic location or at least some of the group can be located at widely dispersed locations,” and yet still be able to share a music experience with each other.

“Information can be passed between the personal communication devices using point to point wireless communication, a distributed network of computers such as the Internet, a wireless cellular communication network, and so on,” the company explains in its filing.

Apple’s idea is that all of this would happen silently to an onlooker, as each person involved in the connected group would be listening to the wireless shared music experience with the use of headphones.

“The personal communication devices can use the shared music characteristic to identify and start to privately play those music items stored in the personal communication device having a characteristic that matches or most closely matches the shared music characteristic at about the same time,” Apple concludes.

If Apple were ever to use the method described above in a future version of its iOS operating system, it would mark the first time the Cupertino, CA company has legally allowed the wireless sharing of music to another person, or Apple ID account holder, within its iTunes ecosystem.

Both patents surfaced in the USPTO patent directory, today, with U.S Patent No. 8,521,316 having been originally filed by Apple on March 31, 2010, and U.S Patent No. 8,519,820 first filed with the patent governing body on Sep 2, 2008.

/ 9to5Mac (h/t)