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Apple aiming to improve syncing, sorting of cloud-based content

post #1 of 11
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A day after the new cloud-based Apple TV was unveiled, two patent applications from Apple describe methods to improve the experience of over-the-air syncing, and browsing of Internet-based content.

The documents describe wirelessly syncing data between a server in the "cloud," and a client device owned by an individual user. They also detail methods that aim to improve the navigation, browsing, search and playback of digital media that is hosted on a remote server.

One application, entitled "Media and User Interface for Accessing Groups of Media Assets," relates to browsing content through scrolling lists, searching for specific content, or viewing by category types. The other, named "Data Synchronization Protocol," describes the syncing of data over the Internet to portable devices like the iPhone, and stationary ones like a Mac.

The timing of the publishing of the documents is noteworthy, as Apple on Wednesday revealed its new cloud-centric Apple TV, a $99 device that focuses exclusively on streaming from external devices and over the Internet. Apple will allow TV episode rentals for 99 cents, and first-run HD movies for $4.99 over the device, as well as access to other Internet-based content from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe.

The new Apple TV aims to simplify the browsing experience by relying solely on the cloud, and not saving data on the device itself. In addition to streaming video, the new Apple TV also helps users catch shows they may have missed by keeping viewed content synced with the cloud.

"Apple TV keeps track of your favorite shows so the next time you turn on your TV, you can quickly see which season youre watching and which episodes are new," Apple's promotional materials read. "Select shows with a few clicks of the included remote. And if your viewing list gets a bit long, Apple TV lets you rearrange it any way you want by clicking and reordering shows using the remote."

Of course, Wednesday's Apple TV announcement is expected to be only the beginning for Apple's cloud-based initiative, as the company is reportedly looking to offer an Internet-based iTunes service. The company has reportedly been in talks with content providers and aims to obtain the necessary licenses to allow users to stream their content to their devices, even with limited or no storage like the Apple TV.

The new application related to data synchronization describes syncing across a number of devices, including Macs and iPhones. It describes allow over-the-air syncing of portable devices, like the iPhone, that currently must be tethered to a computer via USB to sync.

The described invention includes "fast," "slow" and "reset" sync modes, determined based on a request received from the mobile device. The sync modes can be applied to different types of data classes with different file sizes (say, contacts vs. photos) to more efficiently conduct the cloud-based sync.



The application related to browsing on the Apple TV describes providing a list of information to users, and allowing them to expand that list or seek additional information via a remote control.

"The user interface arrangement enables user scrolling or browsing with respect to a list or set of information pertaining to media items, where the list or set can be expanded to include information for additional media items that are subsequently acquired," the application reads. "The user interface arrangement can also present and permit navigation of categorized media items. The user interface arrangement can be presented on a display device associated with a client device."



It describes methods for quickly sorting content that can be streamed from the cloud, based on criteria set by the user when they browse based on category, or conduct a search.



The application pertaining to syncing was filed on May 13, 2010 and is credited to Brendan A. McCarthy and Carsten Guenther. The application related to browsing of content was originally filed for on May 12, 2010, and is a continuation of a patent filed on May 28, 2007. It is credited to Rachel Clare Goldeen, Jeffrey Ma, Michael Margolis, Rainer Brodersen, Calin Pacuraiu, and Jeffrey L. Robbin.
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A day after the new cloud-based Apple TV was unveiled, two patent applications from Apple describe methods to improve the experience of over-the-air syncing, and browsing of Internet-based content.


It would be great if Apple started using some of these patented inventions instead of just sitting on them and preventing anybody else from bringing them to market.
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newtron View Post

It would be great if Apple started using some of these patented inventions instead of just sitting on them and preventing anybody else from bringing them to market.

That's a great point-- there should be a limit on a patent -- use it or lose it. If you haven't used it or licensed it to someone who is using it within 3 years, you forfeit the patent.
post #4 of 11
Yep. Yesterday's keynote was a hint. Steve was planting 'no-sync' ideology.
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Same Apple. Same Mac. Different Take. Different Place. http://Applemacness.com
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post #5 of 11
I just hope when the cloud based system is finally in the hands of the consumers, iDevices, Macs and Apple TV hardware wouldn't have to be upgraded to fully utilize the it.
post #6 of 11
I'm picturing Rendevous for the Cloud. No need for configuration of hardware devices. They just become available to you when you're in the room.

hmm, I better patent this idea.
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After 3 netbooks from acer, toshiba, hp, I find contentment in my 11.6 MB Air. Hoping the 8-hr battery version shows up soon.
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post #7 of 11
They spelled "memmory" wrong in the first diagram!
post #8 of 11
I'd be surprised if someone else hasn't already filed a patent for looking up media stored in a database on the internet. The internet (well, OK, it was first called ARPANET) has been around since 1969.

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post #9 of 11
.

IMO, this is the key to running apps on the new AppleTV, in spite of the fact that the new AppleTV lacks space to store the apps.

Here's a scenario for apps (games and other purchased content) for the New AppleTV:

1) Open the AppleTV -- a menu is displayed categorizing:
-- all the normal stuff, plus
-- locally stored physical content (games, apps, music, video, books, etc.}
-- the menu data is stored on one or more local WiFi LAN devices (Macs, iDevices, etc.) and maintained by iTunes

2) You can buy and play streamed (as opposed to physical) content immediately over the Internet

3) you can browse the media and app stores and purchase and download physical content
-- it will download immediately to a designated (iTunes-maintained) device (if available) on your WiFi LAN
-- it will mediately update (sync) the menu data on the AppleTV (We know we have it, and where it is)
-- if the local device is not available, the content of the purchases are queued as they are now (but the menus are updated)

4) using the menu system on the AppleTV you can play (WiFi stream) A/V content from the local device where it is installed

5) non-streamable content, games, apps, etc. are accessed through the same iTunes-maintained AppleTV menu system.
-- instead of streaming the local content to the AppleTV, the app or game, etc. is temporarily cross-loaded into AppleTV RAM as an app.
-- as it is loading, a well-written app will begin displaying the app's content, making the startup appear seamless and fast
-- at the worst case, you would need to wait for the app to download from the iTunes cloud server to your local iTunes maintained-device, then cross-load to the AppleTV

6) the app, once running can:
-- go out to the Internet and browse, stream content (CBS app, BBC app, iMB app, local channel Live TV app, Concert app, Events apps)
-- go out and fetch in-app purchases, multi-player stats.
-- run totally in a local LAN environment

7) Ad Hoc streaming/Loading would be allowed
-- any iDevice with content or apps could stream or cross-load to the AppleTV.
-- a Mac with an Optical drive could stream DVD movies and CDs (via iTunes or a special DVD reader/streamer)


Done correctly, the user would be unaware of the intricacies and be able to surf, stream, and run apps-- the system would tell him when he needs to wait, or purchase whatever he has chosen (and he doesn't alread own it).


All I want, is all there is... and then some! And, I want it when I want it!

.
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post #10 of 11
what about streaming apps/games through the apple tv from your local mac and/or the cloud? would there be a latency issue if using a wifi connected ios device as the controller?
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwfrederick View Post

what about streaming apps/games through the apple tv from your local mac and/or the cloud? would there be a latency issue if using a wifi connected ios device as the controller?

First, I don't believe you would stream the app or game through AppleTV.

Rather, you would download to a Mac or iDevice, then cross-load to the AppleTV.

The AppleTV would store the app in RAM -- just like an iDevice loads an app from SSD into RAM.

Then, the AppleTV would run the app, using whatever controller* as a substitute foe a touch interface.

* the controller could be connected via WiFI, BT or IR. Apple made IR game controllers years ago. Or, any touch iDevice could act as a remote controller.

I think the latency issue (if any) between the AppleTV and a remote controller can be addressed:
1) the game or app can be made aware that it is being run remotely rather than via direct touch
2) Apple could implement a remote touch API that calibrated and compensated for any latency
3) Latency may not be a big problem as not much data needs to be sent to define a touch, accelerometer, etc. event.

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"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

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