Apple has been known for adding a lot of patents and spawning nothing from them, this new patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office on April 9 allows users to download iTunes songs while offline.
The way this system works is through stored credits – the content is already stored on the device when it was last online and all the user needs to do is have credits pre-downloaded to make the transaction possible.
Offline iTunes purchases
To iPhone users, this new offline iTunes purchase system may seem irrelevant, considering the device is always online through the 3G/4G wireless connections.
For users with WiFi only devices, like the iPod and iPad, this service may be the difference between a few hours of music. When on the road, the user can just simply purchase music pre-stored on the phone through credits.
When a user goes offline they take with them a number of different singles and albums which the user may buy, based on previous purchases. These are stored but unplayable until the user purchases them through credits.
This may not work well if the user wants to try out a different style or an album that has just come out, as all data will not be synced until iTunes is online and this offline mode goes by preferences.
The system works much like micro-transactions in video games, the user purchases the credits but does not have to use them straight away.
Only certain songs and albums can be bought with these credits, Apple may be able to somehow install all the songs from iTunes in some redundant form offline and once the user gets an online connection they will immediately download into full digital records.
Apple may look to extend this system outside of iTunes, to the Apps Store and possibly inside other third party applications. The only problem for the company right now is storage, the user will not be able to hold a whole store of information, even if it is unusable before purchase.
Again, we have said Apple has grown into a company with a lot of patents and no device or software to show. This may just be a way to take on other companies that move to make this possible.
For the vast majority of users, downloading songs has become something to do when at home, not on the road. Once in a while, a song may pop up and you will have to download it, but then will you have the credits ready?
We expect most of Apple’s devices, including the iPod Nano if they continue it, to have wireless networking on board. If they implement this feature, it will be almost unused by the iPhone and iPad users, who have 3G/4G wireless.
The patent was issued in 2010 and has been approved after 3 years, back in 2010, the iPod was still a very successful music player and had no wireless internet. The iPad had just come out as well, so there was no reason to get wireless on every device.