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Apple's ambitious AirPlay, AirPrint plans detailed in patent applications

post #1 of 17
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As Apple prepares to unleash its new AirPlay and AirPrint wireless standards this fall, details on the technology and what functionality it might gain in the future were detailed in a plethora of patent applications revealed this week.

A total of 11 patent applications this week deal with wireless and wired communication with external accessories. They describe features that will be included in Apple's forthcoming AirPlay and AirPrint standards, including the ability of third-party accessories to receive data -- such as music, album art, playlists and print jobs -- wirelessly from an iOS device.

The applications include references to multiple potential external accessories that could communicate with a device like an iPhone. Many of them have already been established with the forthcoming AirPlay standard, including external speaker systems, video players and other multimedia devices.

Some, however, suggest Apple's short-range wireless capabilities could expand to new areas, including home appliances (like a refrigerator or dishwasher), exercise equipment, security systems, home or office automation, cameras, user input devices (a mouse or game controller are mentioned), measurement device, medical devices, or automobiles and automobile accessories (like a car stereo system).

AirPlay and AirPrint will represent a major change for Apple, letting device makers into the company's ecosystem in a way never before allowed. The move has cleared the way for accessory makers to accept wireless media and data streaming from iOS devices with functionality built into the mobile operating system itself.

AirPlay promises to greatly expand the number of external devices and accessories that the iOS ecosystem can communicate with. In addition to Apple's own redesigned Apple TV, AirPlay has also been opened up to third-party device makers, including BridgeCo, Denon, Marantz, JBL, iHome and more. And AirPrint will also be immediately compatible with a number of HP-branded printers.

With AirPlay, users will be able to easily and quickly stream content to devices like receivers, stereos and televisions. It will allow users to play content, such as movies, photos or music, on an external device.



AirPrint, announced this week, allows an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to print documents directly to a compatible printer, as well as with printers shared via a traditional computer. But with an AirPrint-compatible printer, the iOS device communicates directly with the accessory.

The 11 Apple patent applications made public this week lay the groundwork for both AirPrint and AirPlay, and also hint at potentially expanded functionality in the future:

"Remote Access to Advanced Playlist Features of a Media Player:" Playlists can be generated based on a "seed" song selected by a user, and third-party accessories can access, edit and play the playlist remotely.


"Accessory and Mobile Computing Device Communication Using an Application Communication Protocol:" A generic accessory protocol, allowing communication with multiple external devices.

"Application Communication with External Accessories:" Allowing accessories to control applications and features of a portable device.

"Detecting and Processing Button Press Events for Performing Electronic Device Operations:" Granting physical controls to external accessories, such as media control playback or volume.

"Accessory Interface to Portable Media Device Using Sessions:" Communication "sessions" between accessories and applications would allow for multiple accessories to be connected to a device at once.


"Accessory Identification for Mobile Computing Devices:" Using unique "lingo" that allows a mobile device to quickly identify an accessory.

"Accessory Transceiver for Mobile Devices:" An accessory that might allow users to connect their device to multiple networks, or access wireless data that is not compatible with the radios in a current device like the iPhone or iPad.

"Accessory Identification for Mobile Devices:" During an identification phase, an accessory can communicate protocol information to a mobile device.

"Automatic Identification of Compatible Applications and Accessories:" Upon connecting with an accessory, a device recognizes the application that is meant to accompany it, and only allows the accessory to work with that application.

"Connection to Multiple Accessories with Multiple Accessory-Specific Protocols:" Allowing a mobile device to maintain communication with multiple accessories at once.

"Mobile Computing Device Capabilities for Accessories:" Determining the capabilities and limitations of an accessory when it is linked to a mobile device.
post #2 of 17
When Apple Computer became just Apple, it was implied that they would expand beyond Computers and get into general consumer electronics. The airplay / airprint functions are the first baby steps into creating an Apple centric environment for the home.

Very interesting to see how this is being created and executed.
post #3 of 17
Is it at all possible that one day AirPlay could include the ability to stream games to a big screen (through ATV)? This would seem to be the logical progression but it may be too much of a stress with the current processing powers of the idevices. Also, I have heard about music, photos, and movies and I pressume these are only through the apple apps. Does anyone know if it will open to third party apps like pandora and what not. The other one that seems to intrigue me is if facetime was able to be utilized in this way for conference calls.
post #4 of 17
This gives me no comfort. SJ said he had iPhone features patented up to the hilt at its debut it yet Google and Palm and more to come seem to be able to copy iPhone pretty closely.
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Been using Apples since 1978 and Macs since 1984
Long on AAPL so biased. Strong advocate for separation of technology and politics on AI.
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Use duckduckgo.com with Safari, not Google Search
Been using Apples since 1978 and Macs since 1984
Long on AAPL so biased. Strong advocate for separation of technology and politics on AI.
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post #5 of 17
He-he. We knew Phil knew what he's talking about. He-he.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #6 of 17
I hope AirPlay devices will include wireless headphones.
post #7 of 17
Where is wireless syncing of music/content to my iPod? If my iPod is a possible source of content/data for all these AirPlay and AirPrint interactions, why do I still have to connect it to a computer to get content on it?
post #8 of 17
I really hate this kind of thing. Patents for everything. I'm going to patent the method to drink a glass of water with my pinky extended. I know Apple has to do this, but I just hate this game. These types of patents should all be voided.
post #9 of 17
Oh, putain!

Could someone do so kindly and enlighten the Pravda Editorial Board on how content is acquired on iOS devices in everyday life?
Have they ever heard, iDevices are usually connected to Macs to just get iOS updated? People used to have everything else OTA.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

This gives me no comfort. SJ said he had iPhone features patented up to the hilt at its debut it yet Google and Palm and more to come seem to be able to copy iPhone pretty closely.

Exactly. I was thinking the same thing. I was playing around with an Android phone the other day, and I was quite struck by things such as the pinch-to-zoom, inertial scrolling, double-tap to zoom/shrink, etc. (All a little less 'organic' than the iPhone, but not bad nonetheless).

Where is the enforcement of the "we have 200 patents that have patented the hell out of this thing" (or whatever he said in 2007)?
post #11 of 17
It would be amazing if the Mac, or iPad could stream a Keynote presentation to e.g. AppleTV -- a fantastic tools for presentation set-ups ... just connect an AppleTV to a projector or large screen TV and you're done. No messy cables. Of course streaming the whole display would be great too ... probably wouldn't keep up with fast games, but normal context should be fine.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Exactly. I was thinking the same thing. I was playing around with an Android phone the other day, and I was quite struck by things such as the pinch-to-zoom, inertial scrolling, double-tap to zoom/shrink, etc. (All a little less 'organic' than the iPhone, but not bad nonetheless).

Where is the enforcement of the "we have 200 patents that have patented the hell out of this thing" (or whatever he said in 2007)?

It's easy to copy when you totally disregard the patents. It's pretty clear now that Android violates key protected intellectual property. There is a large legal battle yet to play out.

Remember that Kodak sold their Kodamatic instant cameras for years and years before Polaroid murdered them in court, shut the whole operation down and walked away with a pile of cash.
post #13 of 17
In this world of patent right-fights, I guess Apple would be sued the moment AirPrint/AirPlay goes live.
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Same Apple. Same Mac. Different Take. Different Place. http://Applemacness.com
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post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


Where is the enforcement of the "we have 200 patents that have patented the hell out of this thing" (or whatever he said in 2007)?

There is that lawsuit against HTC from March 2010. It will probably take years to be settled, but if Apple prevails, the other android handset makers will get hit by the precedent.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by disposableidentity View Post

It's easy to copy when you totally disregard the patents. It's pretty clear now that Android violates key protected intellectual property. There is a large legal battle yet to play out.

Remember that Kodak sold their Kodamatic instant cameras for years and years before Polaroid murdered them in court, shut the whole operation down and walked away with a pile of cash.

polaroid? who is that? oh right....they won some cash and then went on to bankruptcy. but hey, they showed kodak right?
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcahill009 View Post

I have heard about music, photos, and movies and I pressume these are only through the apple apps. Does anyone know if it will open to third party apps like pandora and what not. The other one that seems to intrigue me is if facetime was able to be utilized in this way for conference calls.

Wireless transfers have delays, but with the music, photos, and movies - AirPlay has some way of synchronising the content between devices. So it must delay it deliberately to some degree to sync them together. As such, I doubt you'd be able to flick your conference call across to a television, the lag would be an issue.

I'd like to see something like Pandora be allowed to send it's output. I guess that would open Hulu for iPad to stream to the AppleTV too, so there's lots of questions about whether Apple would allow it.

Apple may stick to its own programs only.
Personally, beyond 3rd party apps on the iPhone - I'd like to see some 3rd party devices able to stream to the AppleTV.

Quote:
Is it at all possible that one day AirPlay could include the ability to stream games to a big screen (through ATV)? This would seem to be the logical progression but it may be too much of a stress with the current processing powers of the idevices.

I very much doubt it would work that way.

Much better to have the processing happen on the AppleTV so the iPhone can send minimal information to the TV. Or have a program running on the iPhone AND AppleTV simultaneously with bluetooth connection.

I'm looking forward to bigger games, like 4 iPhones having a dog-fight while the AppleTV shows video highlights of the action.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 801 View Post

When Apple Computer became just Apple, it was implied that they would expand beyond Computers and get into general consumer electronics. The airplay / airprint functions are the first baby steps into creating an Apple centric environment for the home.

Very interesting to see how this is being created and executed.

Actually, isn't AirPlay really just the next evolution of Remote Speakers?

AirPrint on the other hand to me has great potential if Apple will open it up to other systems. I just have my doubts that many other printer manufacturers besides HP will build it into their printers unless other devices have the chance to take advantage of it too.
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