A new Apple patent (number 20120115414) at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office shows that the company is working on wireless transmission of media from a media player.
Per the patent, a handheld media player includes a storage medium for storing a plurality of media items, a user interface for selecting one or more of the media items, a playback device for playing a selected media item for a user of the handheld media player, and a wireless transmitter configured to wirelessly transmit the selected media item to one or more media devices. The wireless transmitter can be configured to wirelessly transmit the selected media item while the playback device plays the selected media item for the user of the handheld media player.
Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "The hand held consumer electronics market is exploding, and an increasing number of those products are including mechanism for expanding connections thereto. By way of example, hand held consumer electronic products may correspond to cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), video games, radios, MP3 players, CD players, DVD players, televisions, game players, cameras, etc. Most of these devices include some sort of connector for making connections to other devices (e.g., Firewire, USB, audio out, video in, etc.).
"Some of these devices have been capable of connections to other devices through docking stations. For example, cellular phones have included docking stations for charging the cellular phones and PDAs have included docking stations for communicating with a host computer. Other devices have been capable of wireless connections therebetween. For example, cellular phones use wireless connections to communicate back and forth (e.g., include wireless receivers).
"MP3 music players in particular have typically made connections to other devices through connectors. For example, the MP3 music player known as the iPod manufactured by Apple Computer of Cupertino, Calif. has included a Firewire connector for communicating with a computer. The Firewire connector through a cable connected to the computer generally allows data transmissions to travel back and forth between the MP3 music player and the computer. As should be appreciated, MP3 music players are configured to play MP3 formatted songs.
"These songs may be uploaded from the computer and thereafter stored in the MP3 player. As is generally well known, the MP3 format is a compression system for digital music that helps reduce the size of a digitized song without hurting the sound quality, i.e., compress a CD-quality song without losing the CD sound quality. By way of example, a 32 MB song on a CD may compress down to about a 3 MB song using the MP3 format. This generally lets a user download a song in minutes rather than hours.
"Although current media players such as MP3 music players work well, there is a continuing need for improved features for connecting or coupling media players to one or more external devices (e.g., input or output).
"The invention relates, in one embodiment, to a docking station that allows a media player to communicate with other media devices. The media player (e.g., music player) having a first media connector for connection to the docking station. The docking station includes a housing and a media bay disposed inside the housing. The media bay is capable of receiving the media player. The media bay includes a media bay opening and a second media connector. The media bay opening provides access to the media bay connector.
"The media bay connector is configured for removable engagement with the first media connector of the media player. The first and second media connectors are configured to allow data and power transmissions therethrough. The data transmission includes at least two data formats. The docking station also includes one or more outputs that are operatively coupled to the second media bay connector. The outputs are configured to allow at least data transmissions therethrough.
"The invention relates, in another embodiment, to a wireless media player system. The wireless media player system includes a hand held media player (e.g., music player) capable of transmitting information over a wireless connection. The wireless media player system also includes one or more media devices (e.g., tuning devices) capable of receiving information over the wireless connection.
"The invention relates, in another embodiment, to a method of wirelessly connecting a hand held media player to another device. The method includes selecting a media item on the hand held media player. The method also includes selecting one or more remote recipients on the hand held media player. The method further includes transmitting the media item locally to the hand held media player, and wirelessly to the selected remote recipients.
"The invention relates, in another embodiment, to a hand held music player (e.g., MP3 player) that includes a transmitter for transmitting information over a wireless connection. The transmitter is configured to at least transmit a continuous music feed to one or more personal tuning devices that each include a receiver capable of receiving information from the transmitter over the wireless connection.
"The invention relates, in yet another embodiment, to a connector for use in a media player system. The connector includes a housing and a plurality of spatially separated contacts mounted within the housing. A first set of contacts are appropriated for Firewire transmissions, a second set of contacts being appropriated for USB transmissions."
The inventors are Anthony M. Fadell, Stephen Paul Zadesky and John Benjamin Filson.