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Apple patents offline iTunes purchases using per-device 'credit' system

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Apple on Tuesday was awarded a patent for an offline purchasing system that would allow iTunes users to buy music, movies and other media when not connected to the internet.

Offline Credit
Source: USPTO


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,417,575 for "On-device offline purchases using credits," which describes a system involving the purchase of offline credits stored on a given device that can be put toward media in the iTunes store even when not connected to the online marketplace.

Currently, iTunes users must be logged in or have an internet connection to successfully purchase and download content from the online storefront, but Tuesday's patent lays the groundwork for a type of "pre-loaded" payment system. Beyond the obvious applications for on-the-go iPod touch users and perhaps frequent travelers, the patent could be a harbinger of new never before seen iTunes functionality.

According to Apple, the proposed service involves media stored on an electronic device, like an iPhone or iPod touch, that is not part of the user's owned library. If a user wants to buy a track, but cannot connect to the Internet to provide a means of payment, they can use pre-paid credits previously purchased through the store and subsequently loaded onto the device. Once a data network is accessed, the appropriate deductions are made to a user's on-board credit allotment.

Users can add credits to their device accounts either through the device itself or what appears to be a specialized portal on the desktop version of iTunes, along with other options. Multiple forms of payment are accepted, including credit cards, bank accounts and other digitally connected assets a user links to their online profile.

iTunes
iTunes interface.


As noted by the patent, in order to play back a purchased song or movie, a device must first have a copy of said media item, as well as authorization to play back the content. The device can retrieve copies of "unauthorized" media in any number of ways, including recommendations downloaded from the media store. Carrying on with the recommendation example, the device can restrict access to the content in any number of ways until authorization, or a purchase, has been detected. In some instances, the media might be played back at a lower quality, or there could be a limit to how many times a track is played.

The locally-stored media can be displayed in a variety of arrangements, including a layout similar to the existing iTunes iOS app, making browsing and buying new content easy. Once a user makes a selection, they can purchase the locally stored media with the credits they bought in advance, which will remove the restrictions previously imposed on the content. In other words, the authorization and playback transaction would be fully completed offline.

Flowchart
Flowchart of payment system.


The property could be a boon for iTunes users who don't have ready access to the Internet and, if made real, would likely drive sales for the digital music giant. Specific implementations were not thoroughly discussed, though Apple already has iTunes Match, which allows users iCloud access to their entire music collection, even tracks imported from CDs, for a yearly fee. While mere speculation, further cloud computing integration could bring even more tie-ins with the offline purchasing service, such as music sharing or gifting.

It remains unknown if and when Apple plans to roll out the offline crediting functionality, but the device-specific solution could theoretically be implemented with a firmware update as no hardware limitations were described in the patent.

Apple's offline purchasing patent was first filed for in 2010 and credits Taido Nakajima, Tyler Mincey, Gloria Lin and Joey Darragh as its inventors.
post #2 of 26
Sounds very much like an iRadio feature to me...
post #3 of 26
Sounds very much like "rent this iTunes track for a month". I no likes it.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

Sounds very much like "rent this iTunes track for a month". I no likes it.


Just for comparison:

 

In 1965, singles were .49 and albums were $3.99-$4.99 - but often on sale.

A teacher made 2.65$ per hour on average. Volkswagen's Beetle was 1770$.

Sirloin steaks were 89 cents per pound.

 

You could resell your records as you wanted.

 

Nowadays, an iTunes album is on average 14.99$, but you can't resell it, which heavily reduces its "ownership(sic)" value. Movies are even more badly broken.

 

I'm afraid to see "offline credit" coming.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply
post #5 of 26
How is this idea radically different than the chipknip system? This is payment with bank card that also works when the bank is offline. You place a certain amount onto your cards chip and it can be used offline. When the system comes online it updates the banks records.

An old idea.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 6ryph3n View Post

Sounds very much like an iRadio feature to me...

It reminds me a tad of Lala's old 10 cents for web streaming only. Perhaps there will be a feature where you can download x number of tracks for offline play, each working for say 30 days. Perhaps even free but restricted to the single device. If you want to keep them for longer you buy them, using this system even if you are offline. Next time you are online it validates ownership and you can use the tracks on all devices etc

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #7 of 26

When you buy a new iPod it is preloaded with thousands of songs, and you can pay to unlock them without ever connecting to the Internet?

post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

When you buy a new iPod it is preloaded with thousands of songs, and you can pay to unlock them without ever connecting to the Internet?

 

That's what I'm hung up on... how exactly am I supposed to access the content without a data connection?  Either the data is pre-loaded, or it's a prepay option to content you can't access until you've established a connection... either way I don't see the benefit.

post #9 of 26
The image of that iPhone in this patent appears to have a 5 inch screen.

I'm surprised apple insider didn't post a separate article about that including new fresh speculations and release date info of such a device...
post #10 of 26
Umm, if I may...

The way this would work is, for example, if two friends - out on a lovely bike ride in the countryside? - discover that one friend has a *super* cool song that the other wants, only, they are not in cell range, or they only have non-cell iPads, etc., so, with this magic little system, *presto*, friend two then buys / transfers and enjoys the song on their iOS device immediately. No internet, or iTunes required for this transfer.

The preloaded "data source" people are scratching their heads wondering about is (are) the iOS devices of friends and family.

Just a thought.

Edit: Ah, forgot to add that OS X 'devices' are obviously also a "data source" in this case.
Edited by Bowerydude - 4/9/13 at 6:18am
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


Just for comparison:

 

In 1965, singles were .49 and albums were $3.99-$4.99 - but often on sale.

A teacher made 2.65$ per hour on average. Volkswagen's Beetle was 1770$.

Sirloin steaks were 89 cents per pound.

 

You could resell your records as you wanted.

 

Nowadays, an iTunes album is on average 14.99$, but you can't resell it, which heavily reduces its "ownership(sic)" value. Movies are even more badly broken.

 

I'm afraid to see "offline credit" coming.

 

You're underestimating inflation rates. The 2012 dollar equivalent of a .49 cent single from 1965 would be $3.52. Likewise, a $3.99 album from 1965 would be $28.66 in 2012 dollars. Prices for entertainment are not actually that high when you adjust for inflation. 

post #12 of 26
Seems to me that this offline purchasing / crediting functionality, could probably be used for in-App purchases, such as unlocking new levels of a game etc... Or unlocking the remaining chapters of a "sample" book. I'd say those are probably a lot more likely and logical uses for that than for unlocking previously downloaded music or movies —which would take a lot more space....
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


Just for comparison:

 

In 1965, singles were .49 and albums were $3.99-$4.99 - but often on sale.

A teacher made 2.65$ per hour on average. Volkswagen's Beetle was 1770$.

Sirloin steaks were 89 cents per pound.

 

You could resell your records as you wanted.

 

Nowadays, an iTunes album is on average 14.99$, but you can't resell it, which heavily reduces its "ownership(sic)" value. Movies are even more badly broken.

 

I'm afraid to see "offline credit" coming.

 

What a load of rot and nonsense.  You start off by comparing prices between 1965 and now but then don't follow through.  

You also only calculate for the tiny part of the world that you live in.  This is meaningless.  

 

Also, iTunes albums are totally not $14.99 "on average".  

That's one of the highest prices you can pay for albums which actually average at $9.99.

 

Vinyl records also varied in price wildly, even new, straight from the store.  Despite the fact that many young idiots today will pay enormous amounts for dusty old records that barely play anymore, when they were in their heyday, vinyl records depreciated a great deal from the second they were first out of the wrapper.  

 

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone that wanted a second hand copy of a record when there were new ones to be had from any store in town, because after one scratch they were crap.  

 

My own meaningless statistics:  

 

In 1975, Albums were generally 9.99, 12.99, 14.99, and around 20.00 for a two record set.

In 1985 CD's were generally 9.99, 12.99, 14.99 and around 20.00 for a two record set. 

In 2013 ... albums from iTunes are generally 9.99, 12.99, 14.99 and around 20.00 for a two album set. 

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

The image of that iPhone in this patent appears to have a 5 inch screen. ...

 

This is just a ridiculous thing to say. 

post #15 of 26

So, the ability to pay for something online without being online. Credit system, OK I get that. However if I'm not online how am I supposed to get the thing I just paid for? 

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

What a load of rot and nonsense.  

 

Is that necessary?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

This is just a ridiculous thing to say. 

 

 

And this?

post #17 of 26

This doesn't sound like a great idea, and it's something that I definitely do not want on any of my devices.

 

It's not like we're all walking around with 5 Terrabyte iPhones, and I certainly do not want any content preloaded on my devices that I am not able to access, but is just sitting there, taking up valuable space on my device.

 

I don't live in the jungle or in the middle of nowhere, and if I want to buy something, I'll just connect to the internet and purchase it.

post #18 of 26
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post
Is that necessary?

And this?

 

Did you meant to quote the people to whom he was replying?

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

So, the ability to pay for something online without being online. Credit system, OK I get that. However if I'm not online how am I supposed to get the thing I just paid for? 

What if the thing you are buying is not digital and/or not delivered online?

Say, a pair of shoes, a movie ticket, a bagel, gas for your car...
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Did you meant to quote the people to whom he was replying?

No. I was questioning the necessity (and utility) of his snarkiness (I'm being kind). Ergo, no need to quote the people he was offending.

post #21 of 26

"What if the thing you are buying is not digital and/or not delivered online?


Say, a pair of shoes, a movie ticket, a bagel, gas for your car…"

 

------

 

Finally, someone who gets it.

 

iWallet anyone?

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

No. I was questioning the necessity (and utility) of his snarkiness (I'm being kind). Ergo, no need to quote the people he was offending.

But he was right.  The point he was referring to made no sense.  And "stuff and nonsense" is hardly beyond the pale in a rough and tumble forum like this.  It wasn't even ad hominem.  

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirROM View Post

"What if the thing you are buying is not digital and/or not delivered online?



Say, a pair of shoes, a movie ticket, a bagel, gas for your car…"






Finally, someone who gets it.

iWallet anyone?

Yeah! What Apple is working towards is much, much, much more than buying digital content...
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
post #24 of 26
It seems like something that might mess a system up
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

When you buy a new iPod it is preloaded with thousands of songs, and you can pay to unlock them without ever connecting to the Internet?

This may be the key. In the past, iPods were not allowed to come preloaded with songs (even the special U2 Project Red iPod) because of a contractual agreement with The Beatles. That agreement and its complications no longer exist, so Apple could very easily pre-load tracks onto new iOS devices.

 

Another way of dealing with the "if I have to connect to download tracks anyway, what's the point?" issue could be similar to a combination of iTunes Match and the Genius thing. The device could (with user permission) track music preferences and automatically download likely tracks in the background when the user is connected via WiFi, for instance.

 

Or a user could "subscribe" to certain bands and automatically download tracks from those bands (again, in the background via iFi to not eat cellular data plans). The user could discover these tracks at leisure, perhaps play them a couple of times, and then buy them if they like them.

 

The only real down side for someone like me is that this would, of course, require a certain amount (user configurable?) of storage space on the device. My devices, even at 64GB, tend to stay pretty close to full so I wouldn't likely be able to take advantage of this proposed system. Still, many others might.

post #26 of 26

I would like to be able to buy an app that is over 50 meg and have the download take place later.  As for the music, how can you even see it to buy it if you aren't connected to the store already?
 

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