Feeds

Apple heads for new carrier collision

Wireless iPod patent uncloaked

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The US Patent and Trademark Office has published two patent applications today which offer some clue to the future shape of the iPod, and also Apple's ambitions as a digital media distributor. As well as an intriguing glimpse of what a wireless iPod could do, it potentially sets Apple on a collision course with the major cellular phone networks.

Patent application (#20060095339), filed 18 months ago, describes an iPod that's fully wireless enabled - but envisages it as a portable shopping cart rather than a device for sharing media.

It's sure to be read with great interest by lawyers at the giant cellular phone carriers. It also describes a method of tagging a digital media file on one device and network and downloading it to another device on another network. That's very similar to how Sprint and Verizon - to name but two - allow you to buy a song over the air, and then tag it for downloading to your PC when you get home.

And this has the potential to bring Apple into a head-on collision with the carriers, once again.

Apple sidestepped just such a conflict late last year.

As we exclusively revealed in December, Apple had developed software to enable users to purchase ringtones through the iTunes Music Store. Slated for inclusion in the iLife '06 suite, Apple has declined to ship the technology, which has the potential to dent a major source of data revenue for the cellular networks.

It may have proved a useful bargaining chip, however. This week, reports declared that Apple had prevailed in its fight with the major record labels to keep downloads priced at 99 cents per song. The labels hoped to use the cellular networks, who price songs at $2.50 per download, as leverage against the iTunes operation, in an attempt to raise prices.

If Apple builds out the technologies described in the 2004 application, the company Apple can stake a claim on the ringtones market again. Patent application #20060095339 describes a wireless-enabled device that can purchase ringtones and graphics, as well as eBooks, over a cellular network. It also specifies personal area networking technologies such as Ultra Wide Band.

While Apple is unlikely to build true P2P PAN file sharing into the iPod - despite user demand - PAN kiosks in high street stores will be able to dispense ringtones and song files to shoppers, using service points such as BlueRay.

It's something the mobile carriers have been planning for some time.

A second patent application published today (#20060095848) describes a technique for adding voice commands to an iPod, with the host PC doing the heavy duty processing. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.