Apple patent hints at satellite potential of iPod

Apple patent hints at satellite potential of iPod

Summary: Apple has filed for a patent which hints that a satellite radio accessory for the iPod may become a reality.

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Satellite Radio iPod PatentI'm a big fan of satellite radio and was a subscriber to XM radio for three years before switching to Sirius about a year ago.

Back in December 2004, I wrote that Apple was in talks with Sirius to discuss an iPod with a built-in satellite radio receiver. The "SatPod" would be able to receive satellite radio broadcasts from either XM or Sirius (ideally both) and even record the content to the iPod hard drive. Sources told me back then that  about such a device.

The thinking was that Sirius needed develop a portable satellite radio receiver to compete with the MyFi from Delphi (which is powered by XM Satellite Radio.)

The US$349 handheld device can download and store up to five hours of XM content onto the device's flash memory. MyFi lets you record while you listen or schedule it to record your favorite XM shows - even when the unit is not in use.

Almost two years later Apple has filed for a patent which hints that a satellite radio accessory for the iPod may become a reality.

Orbitcast, a satellite radio news site, has published a story about a new patent application that Apple has filed  for "a method of saving media from various sources for later purchase. It's an ingenious method of grabbing snippets of audio, identifying the song and allowing the user the option to purchase that song."

The patent itself appears to be for the how the iPod "discovers" music sources:

With this technology, the user can tune "into a wireless signal (e.g., AM FM radio, digital radio, or WiFi)" using either a wireless card or "the capability to accept accessories to add the necessary functionality." ...

Still, the relationship with satellite radio is vague... at this point. As we read the patent application further though, it begins to clear up as Apple specifically states that the wireless signal could be "AM/FM radio, satellite radio, WiFi."

The patent indicates that a satellite radio receiver would be an iPod accessory and not built-into the iPod itself. The author elaborates that "SDARS capability would add too much bulk for Apple to ever consider it to be acceptable."

On Wednesday Sirius stock moved higher after a report from Briefing.com that mentioned "chatter of a potential strategic partnership" between Apple and Sirius.

Sirius just began shipping their Stiletto 100 (US$349), the company's first self-contained portable satellite radio receiver. It looks like the Stiletto could be a precursor to more portable receivers to come.

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6 comments
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  • Lawsuits ahoy

    Every time anyone has included the capability to record from satellite radio into a device, they've been sued. Heck, Creative just issued a firmware update to their mp3 players that record FM radio stopping that functionality from working (and royally screwing over customers who had bought the devices).

    Sure, it'll lead to more music sales, and sure it's perfectly legal, but don't try to convince the RIAA of that.
    tic swayback
    • Damn the Lawsuits! Full Speed Ahead!

      Sure, there will probably be a lawsuit; there was a big one when VCRs came out. But they tend to get settled. The portable satellite radios just cleared up theirs a month ago. So I'll be first in line at the Apple store on this one!
      jnik
  • Message has been deleted.

    sigmaman1
  • wha!! did you actually read the patent???

    it's a system that lets you sample music that you may here on the radio or where ever... the system identifies the song and allows you to buy it just by sampling it.. i.e. no searching the iTunes store or remembering or trying to figure out the name of the song... sample it, buy it... it's not a satellite recording, radio recording system.. how could anyone who actually read the patent get that from it??
    doctorSpoc
    • i.e. those are sound waves and the thing on the iPod is a mic nt

      ...
      doctorSpoc
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