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Apple filing illustrates wireless iPod sync, docking station

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Apple Computer's iPod digital music players could gain wireless capabilities through an enhanced docking station before such capabilities are actually built into the players themselves.

In a recent filing with an overseas patent office, member's of the company's iPod division describe a content synchronization system for digital media players that include built-in wireless technology or have access to a docking station that includes such capabilities.

The filing portrays a syncing system very much like the one implemented in shipping versions of Apple's iTunes jukebox software, where media files on a personal computer are synchronized with an iPod when the device is connected to the computer through a USB or FireWire cable. However, the concept builds on such technology by routinely checking for the presence of a media player with wireless transfer capabilities before checking for a wired connection.

"The synchronization can be automatically performed when the media player that supports wireless communications is placed within a wireless network that also couples to the host device," the company wrote in the filing. "In [...] another embodiment, synchronization can be automatically performed when the media player is placed in a docking station that supports wireless communications."

Apple said the wireless network can be sponsored by a host computer or some other device, such as a wireless router or hub. However it did not specify a particular wireless medium for which the technology would be based, saying only that such technology would typically be short ranged.

"The wireless network typically has a local area or a limited range," the company said. "The infrastructure of the wireless network can include one or more of 802.11 systems, Bluetooth systems, 900 MHz systems, or other localized wireless data transfer means."

What Apple did say is that the synchronization technology would tie into its digital rights management scheme, where wireless connectivity between a computer and media player could be restricted if it was determined that the player was not authorized to sync with a particular computer and its associated media library.



The Cupertino, Calif.-based company added that, "One advantage of the invention is that a user is able to manage a media player with a host computer over a wireless connection" where "synchronization can be performed without a physical connection and without any requirement for line-of-sight arrangements."

"Still another advantage of the invention is that a larger portable device, such as a vehicle, bag or case, can house or contain the media player and also optionally provide wired/wireless communication capability," Apple said.

The July 2006 filing is credited to three prominent members of Apple's iPod team, including iPod Division senior vice president Tony Fadell, iPod product line director Stanley Ng and iTunes software chief Jeff Robbin.
post #2 of 35
SWEET! Say hello to my new car stereo system, it automatically updates my library every time I park it in the garage.
post #3 of 35
Quote:
Apple Computer's iPod digital music players could gain wireless capabilities through an enhanced docking station before such capabilities are actually built into the players themselves.

Fer cryin' out loud, just build it into the iPod already! Stop trying to avoid the inevitable!

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post #4 of 35
Haven't Apple already got this "Wireless Docking Station" ?

It's called "Airport Express". Give it a firmware update so that plugging a USB iPod into it connects it to the network and you're done.
post #5 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich

Fer cryin' out loud, just build it into the iPod already! Stop trying to avoid the inevitable!

If battery life dropped even 5 minutes from current battery life expectations people would SCREAM. That's why it probably won't be built directly into the iPod.
post #6 of 35
Not to mention that once Apple puts a feature into the iPod, they have to support it forever... they are VERY selective of what they put into the iPod. As an accessory, they can drop it if it doesn't work out. And if it turns out to be very profitable? Then, they'll add it to the player itself.
post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimUSCA

Not to mention that once Apple puts a feature into the iPod, they have to support it forever... they are VERY selective of what they put into the iPod. As an accessory, they can drop it if it doesn't work out. And if it turns out to be very profitable? Then, they'll add it to the player itself.

I don't think Apple is above abandoning features. Heck, the iPod line has shown this, where is the Firewire connectivity?
post #8 of 35
They could always put this into an OPTIONAL wireless dock.

It's not a huge feature, but if true, it would be nice in allowing me to dock my iPod at my stereo--far from my computer--where it can currently charge but not synch. With a wireless dock, it could still synch.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimUSCA

Not to mention that once Apple puts a feature into the iPod, they have to support it forever... they are VERY selective of what they put into the iPod. As an accessory, they can drop it if it doesn't work out. And if it turns out to be very profitable? Then, they'll add it to the player itself.

How about a 'for example' here... Anyone privy to information regarding how Apple's FM tuner add-on for the iPod has been selling?

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post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich

How about a 'for example' here... Anyone privy to information regarding how Apple's FM tuner add-on for the iPod has been selling?

It's a good question. I think $50 is a little ridiculous, so I've held off.
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM

I don't think Apple is above abandoning features. Heck, the iPod line has shown this, where is the Firewire connectivity?

This is true... I was pissed when they did this as I have an eMac with no USB 2.0.
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimUSCA

This is true... I was pissed when they did this as I have an eMac with no USB 2.0.

I am curious, did you decide not to get a new iPod as a result?
post #13 of 35
Actually, I still got one... but it took friggin forever to load my music to it since it was running on USB 1.1. It was more of a nuisance than anything else. I will say however that I am updating music on my iPod less frequently because I don't feel like waiting. We've become more impatient with technology I suppose... I remember waiting for mtv.com to load in 30 minutes and being amazed. It would come up with a new loading bar for every image on the page.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimUSCA

This is true... I was pissed when they did this as I have an eMac with no USB 2.0.

But it still works fine with 1.0, right? I'm curious about why you need the faster transfer speeds. It's nice to have, but I don't think I'd be pissed with 100 Mb/sec, it's still plenty fast enough to update new files, even if refilling the whole thing takes a little dedicated time.
post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdj21ya

But it still works fine with 1.0, right? I'm curious about why you need the faster transfer speeds. It's nice to have, but I don't think I'd be pissed with 100 Mb/sec, it's still plenty fast enough to update new files, even if refilling the whole thing takes a little dedicated time.

Yes, it works fine... no problem at all. It just seems weird that the 1G iPod had firewire and then they drop it assuming everyone has USB 2.0.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM

I don't think Apple is above abandoning features. Heck, the iPod line has shown this, where is the Firewire connectivity?

Jobs himself said that. Once a feature is in, it's very difficult to remove. He's right. Once it's in, it becomes the new "standard".
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich

How about a 'for example' here... Anyone privy to information regarding how Apple's FM tuner add-on for the iPod has been selling?

Very well, from what I've read.
post #18 of 35
Couln't they possibly get the Firewire controller chip into the Universal Dock and everyone could be happy?
post #19 of 35
Sweet!

Yeh, it'll probably be an accessory to see how it goes. Then if it goes well, which I'm sure it will then it'll be put into the next model.

Then again, I'm hoping they take a chance and it's built into the unit from the start. Anyone who screams about the battery life going down because wi-fi is added to the unit is silly. Of course battery life would suffer if they used the existing battery technology. But I'm sure they'll be an option to turn the wireless off when ur not using it :P

I've set aside £300 for xmas for a new iPod. Got the iPod photo atm. Not interested in getting another one until I see wireless syncing or that touchscreen that everyones been on about
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdj21ya

But it still works fine with 1.0, right? I'm curious about why you need the faster transfer speeds. It's nice to have, but I don't think I'd be pissed with 100 Mb/sec, it's still plenty fast enough to update new files, even if refilling the whole thing takes a little dedicated time.

USB 1.x maxes out at 12Mbps or 1.5MBps. For just songs, it's fine, I've linked my mini to a USB1.1 jack at work but it's not something I'd want to do with video.
post #21 of 35
802.11 would be way too slow for syncing more than a few songs. Even 802.11g, which goes up to "54 Mbps" (shown to be more like 20 Mbps in real life) would mean it takes 20 times longer to sync than over FireWire 400 or USB 2.0. I don't see the point; it would just drive up the cost of the device without adding any significant value.
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormchild

802.11 would be way too slow for syncing more than a few songs. Even 802.11g, which goes up to "54 Mbps" (shown to be more like 20 Mbps in real life) would mean it takes 20 times longer to sync than over FireWire 400 or USB 2.0. I don't see the point; it would just drive up the cost of the device without adding any significant value.

Yeah, it is a lot closer to USB1.x., but the iPod drives really aren't terribly fast either.

Wireless doesn't solve the idea of charging, unless Apple offers a system to allow syncing to a dock connected to Airport Express, then it's not a drain on the iPod.
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormchild

802.11 would be way too slow for syncing more than a few songs. Even 802.11g, which goes up to "54 Mbps" (shown to be more like 20 Mbps in real life) would mean it takes 20 times longer to sync than over FireWire 400 or USB 2.0. I don't see the point; it would just drive up the cost of the device without adding any significant value.

But, that really isn't an issue for an ipod you'd like to leave docked in your stereo system when you get home from work/school. Or for an iPod you'd like to integrate into a car stereo system that sits in the garage overnight.

I'd imagine charging would be integrated into the same wireless dock if you were to create one, it seems like it would be pretty stupid not to.
post #24 of 35
I don't understand this constant push on Apple's part to have people dock their iPods. I have my iPods in cases. A lot of people do. I have no interest in taking them out of the cases. Docks do not work for a lot of us! Give me wireless right in the iPod or give me a cable with a dock connector on it.

If a third party manufacturer (or Apple) came up with a whole system of accessories that were all based around a standard iPod case that fits into a boombox, dock, etc., I would buy it in a heartbeat.
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post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmoNut

I don't understand this constant push on Apple's part to have people dock their iPods. I have my iPods in cases. A lot of people do. I have no interest in taking them out of the cases. Docks do not work for a lot of us! Give me wireless right in the iPod or give me a cable with a dock connector on it.

If a third party manufacturer (or Apple) came up with a whole system of accessories that were all based around a standard iPod case that fits into a boombox, dock, etc., I would buy it in a heartbeat.

If Apple sells 40 million iPods a year, and 2 million sit in docks part of the time, would that be a big enough market? I think so.
post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

Very well, from what I've read.

Anything public that can be divulged?

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post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich

Anything public that can be divulged?

It is all public. I don't particularly remember where though. That's the problem. Read something, don't bother to save the page because you don't think you'll need it, and then you do.

It could have been in an article right here. It was in news articles on these sites.
post #28 of 35
One question that I have, and maybe it has been answered already... This whole wireless deal, is it for flash based iPods or all iPods???

If the whole issue is about data transfer, what gives with wireless when USB 2.0 or firewire is the fast track to take?

Dang!!!
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post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Scott

One question that I have, and maybe it has been answered already... This whole wireless deal, is it for flash based iPods or all iPods???

If the whole issue is about data transfer, what gives with wireless when USB 2.0 or firewire is the fast track to take?

Dang!!!

Who knows? These are all just rumors.
post #30 of 35
Haha, last night I was transferring a few megs of mp3's to my vx8300 phone using BitPim via bluetooth (because I'm too cheap to buy the USB cable). Believe me, Bluetooth is not the way to go for any file transferring....
post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by meelash

Haha, last night I was transferring a few megs of mp3's to my vx8300 phone using BitPim via bluetooth (because I'm too cheap to buy the USB cable). Believe me, Bluetooth is not the way to go for any file transferring....

I don't think anyone here suggested it would be good for file transfers. Its data rate is in the range of broadband Internet - about 1Mbps.

The reason it was suggested is for audio, with EDR, it's enough to feed cordless stereo headphones. Reasonably low power WiFi chips are available, but IIRC, Bluetooth is still lower power and already has headphone or at least audio devices as part of the standard.
post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

If Apple sells 40 million iPods a year, and 2 million sit in docks part of the time, would that be a big enough market? I think so.

I'm not saying that it's not a big enough market. What I'm saying is that Apple and other third-party accessory vendors seem to want people to constantly take their iPods in and out of the cases to be able to use ANYTHING that's got a dock connector.

Look at all the desktop boombox/stereo setups out there. How many can I use with the dock connector without taking my iPod out of its case? Sure, there are workarounds, but no good solution as far as I'm concerned.

I would LOVE to plop my iPod down on my desk at work, start playing it, and have it stream music wirelessly to the little boombox setup that I leave there all the time. Or, have a boombox with a clip holder that my iPods case clips onto, I plug in a short dock connector pigtail, and I'm good to go.
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post #33 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmoNut

I'm not saying that it's not a big enough market. What I'm saying is that Apple and other third-party accessory vendors seem to want people to constantly take their iPods in and out of the cases to be able to use ANYTHING that's got a dock connector.

Look at all the desktop boombox/stereo setups out there. How many can I use with the dock connector without taking my iPod out of its case? Sure, there are workarounds, but no good solution as far as I'm concerned.

I would LOVE to plop my iPod down on my desk at work, start playing it, and have it stream music wirelessly to the little boombox setup that I leave there all the time. Or, have a boombox with a clip holder that my iPods case clips onto, I plug in a short dock connector pigtail, and I'm good to go.

The problem is that people want their iPods to serve two masters.

The first is for the "traditional" portable usage, where a case is almost mandatory.

The second is for when they get home, and want to use that stored library to play over some other audio device.

The problem has to do with the type of case you get. You can use one that works like my Treo case. It is leather, fits on my belt, and protects the phone. But, I can snap open that case and remove the phone in seconds. Return it even more quickly.

No problem.

But if you have a skintight case, it is far more formidable to remove and put back on.

It comes down to how you want to use it. There are plenty of choices available.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdj21ya

But it still works fine with 1.0, right? I'm curious about why you need the faster transfer speeds. It's nice to have, but I don't think I'd be pissed with 100 Mb/sec, it's still plenty fast enough to update new files, even if refilling the whole thing takes a little dedicated time.

I have a MacBook with USB 2.0 and the iPod syncs fast...almost like my other iPod and Firewire. But my other computer has USB 1.1 and it takes forever. Absolutely forever.
post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross

The problem is that people want their iPods to serve two masters.

The first is for the "traditional" portable usage, where a case is almost mandatory.

The second is for when they get home, and want to use that stored library to play over some other audio device.

The problem has to do with the type of case you get. You can use one that works like my Treo case. It is leather, fits on my belt, and protects the phone. But, I can snap open that case and remove the phone in seconds. Return it even more quickly.

No problem.

But if you have a skintight case, it is far more formidable to remove and put back on.

It comes down to how you want to use it. There are plenty of choices available.

Being able to accept iPods with cases does add a level of complexity to the product, no two iPod cases are equally thick, and usually have different size clips and other protursions. It would need a few different adjustments to hold the case securely, so maybe it was just easier to assume there was no case.

The problem I have with cases is that most cases almost need something like the Invisible Skin to protect the iPod from scratches from their protective case as well. Dust and dirt almost inevitably get between the case and the iPod, get embedded into the case and scratch the iPod from regular handling, at least from my use.

Personally, I really don't care too much for docking, though I did make a replica of the sleek aluminum dock that my local Apple store uses to show off their nanos.
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