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.”

Latest News