Apple eyes ways to improve communication between devices
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Apple eyes ways to improve communication between devices

An Apple patent (number 20120102236) involving communication between an accessory and a media player with multiple protocol versions has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It relates generally to connector interfaces and more particularly to a connector interface system which is utilized in conjunction with media players and their accessories.

Per the patent, an interface and protocol allow a media player to communicate with external accessories over a transport link. The protocol includes a core protocol functionality and a number of accessory lingoes. Examples of accessory lingoes include a microphone lingo, a simple remote lingo, a display remote lingo, an RF transmitter lingo, and an extended interface lingo.

Here's Apple's background on the invention: "A media player stores media assets, such as audio tracks or photos, that can be played or displayed on the media player. One example of a media player is the iPod media player, which is available from Apple Computer, Inc., of Cupertino, Calif. Often, a media player acquires its media assets from a host computer that serves to enable a user to manage media assets. As an example, the host computer can execute a media management application to manage media assets. One example of a media management application is iTunes, version 6.0, produced by Apple Computer, Inc.

"A media player typically includes one or more connectors or ports that can be used to interface to the media player. For example, the connector or port can enable the media player to couple to a host computer, be inserted into a docking system, or receive an accessory device. There are today many different types of accessory devices that can interconnect to the media player.

"For example, a remote control can be connected to the connector or port to allow the user to remotely control the media player. As another example, an automobile can include a connector and the media player can be inserted onto the connector such that an automobile media system can interact with the media player, thereby allowing the media content on the media player to be played within the automobile.

"Currently, the connectors or ports of a media player are open for use so long as a compatible connector or port is utilized. Consequently, numerous third-parties have developed accessory devices for use with other manufacturers' media players.

"In a typical connector interface, there is a docking connector that allows for the docking of the media player device to a docking station for another type of communication for the device. A media player also typically includes a remote connector with the ability to output audio. As more multi-media content becomes available (i.e., digital, video graphics, etc.) it is desirable to have a media player which can effectively input and output such data.

"Finally, a media player must be able to identify a particular device's functionality to which it is associated. Heretofore, there is no device that includes features that overcome many of the above-stated problems. What is desired is a connector interface system which is utilized in such a device to address all the above-identified issues. The present invention addresses such a need."

The inventors are Emily C. Schubert, Wang Chun Leung, Gregory T. Lydon, Scott Krueger, Paul Holden, John Archibald, Lawrence G. Bolton, Donald J. Novotney, John B. Filson and David Tupman.


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