Apple discusses in-flight iTunes downloads | iLounge News


Apple discusses in-flight iTunes downloads

Airline in-flight entertainment system providers have talked with Apple about licensing iTunes to enable passengers to download music and videos onto iPods while flying. “We’ve had lots of discussions with Apple,” said Thales VP and in-flight systems GM Brad Foreman. “The key is to get them to see the value of hosting iTunes on an aircraft. Is it a big enough market for them to be interested in? I’d try to do it tomorrow if they said yes.” Panasonic Avionics strategic product marketing director David Bruner agreed that “there’s a lot of airline interest” in the idea of hosting iTunes. “Apple is aware of the market,” he said. “It’s a small market for them, but it’s a very visible market.”

Flight International reports: “Several airlines have requested building iPod docks, or Universal Serial Bus (USB) portsin seatbacks, allowing passengers to browse iTunes through the airline’s IFE system before transferring music directly to the MP3 player. Flights could be an ideal time during which to download songs, but currently it is restricted to those passengers with laptops flying on a flight with a wireless network.”

“In order to license an onboard system offering, Apple would have to re-engineer the software to allow songs downloaded mid-flight to be transferred back on the customer’s computer hard disk, currently prohibited,” notes the publication. “Apple would also encounter licensing issues similar to those faced by in-flight telephony providers over where copyright and sales data are recorded for media downloaded in international airspace, according to industry insiders familiar with the negotiations.”

Related Stories



who needs that?! Sooner or later airplanes will all have wi-fi access so people can purchase songs or so whatever they want…
I don’t see why annyone would buy songs on an airplane, for a premium I assume…

Posted by tom on April 11, 2006 at 10:23 AM (CDT)


Wouldn’t the rest of your song library be deleted when you connect your iPod to the computer in the plane? You would have to set your iPod to Manual Update, and even then, you could never put it on your computer back home (at least, never legally or easily). At home, you would have to set your iPod to Manual Update forever, or you would lose the song on your iPod, since you couldn’t load the song onto your computer. No thank you. Apple and the airlines would need to figure out a way to allow the transfer of the song from the iPod to the computer, a practice Apple currently doesn’t allow.

And if songs cost a penny more than 99 cents on the airplane, forget it.

Posted by Bradley Silverman on April 11, 2006 at 10:51 AM (CDT)


Just because it can be done, does not mean that it should be done…

Posted by Mark on April 11, 2006 at 11:26 AM (CDT)


Are you guys kidding? This is a great idea! Stuck on a five-hour flight without any videos you want to watch and a crappy in-flight movie? Grab an episode of your favorite TV show. If this is limited to just music, then I have less interest because a song is only going to last four minutes or so anyway (though you could of course purchase an album). But grabbing video would be phenomenal. Sure you could do the same thing at home, but never underestimate how your preferences can change when stuck on a flight.

By the way, Bradley, read the last paragraph after the jump. (I know this new layout can sometimes encourage skipping info.) Apple would have to allow a workaround.

Posted by $ean on April 11, 2006 at 12:01 PM (CDT)


before we offer iTunes, lets offer better seats, prices and services, shall we?

Posted by james on April 11, 2006 at 12:13 PM (CDT)


you guys realize that this will only create an even stronger monopoly for apple, right?! I’m not sure how much they will charge, but I don’t think that they will make any profits out of it, considering that they have to come up with a work around as well as airline having to invest in the iPod docks. Not talking about the new infastracture that is needed to process the payment and the licenses.

Apple tends to change docks frequently. How do they assure that people with 4th/5th/mini/nano iPods can all connect to it?

IMHO, people would just use it to try it while it is new, but it will be a flop just like those on board phones. I never saw someone actually using them.

The airlines should rather work on making their airplanes less noisy so that one can actually enjoy listing to music without ruining his ears.

Anyway, it is not going to happen anyway. Sooner or later the iPod will have wireless technology built in, so people can buy new songs while waiting for the flight or in the airplane once there are hotspots on every airplane. That would also limit the amount of time airlines have to make profits.

Posted by mike on April 11, 2006 at 12:25 PM (CDT)


that iPod hype starts to annoy me. soon the kids will get sick of the iPod, because everyone has one and to set themselfes apart from the crowd, they will look for alternative products. we already see that happening in the cell phone market. cell phones used to big, but now it is just something everyone just has no one talks about…the same thing will happen to mp3 players…

Posted by joe on April 11, 2006 at 12:34 PM (CDT)


Sure, Joe, but people still buy cell phones. You just have to market the device properly to keep it cutting edge (see the Sidekick).

Posted by $ean on April 11, 2006 at 12:56 PM (CDT)


sorry, $ean, didn’t see that. yeah, i wish the whole article would siaply on the homepage, it would make everything so much less confusing

Posted by Bradley on April 11, 2006 at 4:58 PM (CDT)


I’d just be happy with charging my iPod during long flights.

Have been on a couple of flights this year already which were well over 10 hours each way.

That way I would have a fully charged iPod when I land, despite having listened to it for 10 hours or so.

Posted by wco81 on April 11, 2006 at 7:27 PM (CDT)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy