Apple patent explores wireless media device applications

An Apple patent application published this week suggests the company is working on multiple wireless applications for its personal media devices. The patent describes a method for the wireless notification and downloading of new podcasts, and multiple instances of location or site-based wireless applications. Site-based applications would be handled by local short-range wireless protocols, such as Wi-Fi, and would provide location-specific information and capabilities. The filing covers both wireless applications and dock-based information transfers, and covers a broad swath of possible uses.

“For example, if the merchant is a restaurant, the merchant may provide a menu to the personal media device and the user may place an order on his or her media device by selecting items on the menu,” the patent states. Likewise, a movie theater could list currently running films and times, and allow the user to purchase tickets with the device, or an attraction such as a zoo or museum could offer up relevant content — like information on a particular artist or animal — when the user enters a certain area. Another example covers larger tourist attractions: “Various location-based content that may be provided in connection with a tourist attraction (e.g., a museum or zoo). Local content may include, for example, audio podcasts, maps, event schedule, advertisements, general information, graphics (e.g., animal pictures), and any other suitable information. Because tourist attractions can be relatively large (e.g., Disney World) and children often frequent such places, parents may be concerned of a child’s whereabouts if not directly within their sight. Assuming the parent and child both have a media device, and the tourist attraction or other large area (e.g., city) has a distributed network, a location program may be executed to determine the location of the child’s media device.” As with all patent filings, this does not necessarily represent any future product releases from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.

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