Could cloud-based radio be part of iTunes’ future? Three patents at the US Patent & Trademark Office indicate that Apple has at least considered it. Or at least you can expect radio implemented in more versions of the iPod than the nano.
Patent number 20100269145 involves accessing radio content from a non-radio source. Systems and methods are provided for accessing broadcast media items and segments from non-broadcast sources. In response to detecting that a user has not finished listening to a broadcast segment (e.g., a radio segment), an electronic device can automatically identify and access an alternate, non-broadcast source for the same broadcast segment (e.g., a corresponding podcast episode).
Using the electronic device, a user can play back the segment from the non-broadcast source, starting playback at the last position of the broadcast segment when the user stopped listening to the broadcast. In some embodiments, the electronic device can update library counts (e.g., play counts and new/not new tags) based on media items and segments played back as part of a media broadcast.
Patents 20100268360 and 20100267331 are for seamless switching between radio and local media. Systems and methods are provided for seamlessly switching media playback between a media broadcast, such as a radio broadcast, and media from a local media library. When an electronic device determines that an upcoming media item in a media broadcast is not of interest to a user, the electronic device can switch playback from the media stream to a media item from the electronic device local library.
The selected local media item can be related to a previously broadcast media item to ensure continuity in the user’s listening or viewing experience. The electronic device can switch away from the local media item and return to the media stream when the media stream again broadcasts media items or segments of interest to the user. The inventors on all three patents are Michael Ingrasia and Jeffery Lee.