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Apple looks towards personalized on-demand podcasts

post #1 of 10
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Apple appears poised to evolve podcasts into a new form of dynamically generated media, where users would customize the contents of a digital media file prior to downloading it to their iPod, iPhone or Apple TV.

The idea, which builds on a recently publicized concept of user generated "Podmaps," is outlined in an 18-page filing from the Cupertino-based company originally made in January of last year and published for the first time on Thursday by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

In it, Apple explains that traditional podcasts typically consist of fixed media where the subscriber has no control over the content provided in or with podcasts file prior to downloading it to a digital media player, computer or other device.

"Unfortunately, however, a subscriber may desire a podcast that is somewhat different from the available podcasts," wrote patent inventor Ellis Verosub. "In many cases, a subscriber is not interested in the entire pre-established podcast but would prefer to modify the podcast in some manner. However, there is currently no way for a subscriber to alter the content within a podcast."

To address this issue, Verosub again suggests (as he did in the recent filing for podmaps) a sophisticated backend content delivery system capable of generating, managing and delivering personalized media items for users -- essentially, a means of creating customized news broadcasts that present only the content and information desired by the viewer.

For example, a user could use an application like iTunes to subscribe to and personalize a podcasts that would automatically download and sync to a device each morning for viewing over Apple TV during breakfast or on an iPod or iPhone while on the way to work.



The podcast could consist of one or several segments selected from a predefined set of continuously updated media categories on a digital download service, such as the iTunes Store. A 20-minute customized podcast, for instance, could consist of a 5 minute segment from CNN on the day's national news, a 5 minute segment from a local news station, and a 10 minute segment on sports highlights from ESPN.

A "podcast request dialog" in iTunes would assist the user in the creation of the custom file by presenting a list of predefined news categories and a form interface for naming and specifying media type, life-span, and preferred delivery preferences.



Besides the predetermined categories that would be made available via iTunes, the podcast request dialog could also include a custom button, Verosub added.

"Upon selection of the custom button, a user can be assisted with another dialog screen to create a category of content, namely, media content, that is to be included within the custom podcast," he explained. "For example, in the case of sports, the user may desire to create a category that is specific to their interests. For example, the user may request to receive sports highlights from the weekend during the NFL season regarding specific teams or teams in the Eastern division. As another example, the user may desire to receive statistics regarding games played during the past week in the NFL."

Once a user has personalized their podcast, iTunes would then send a request to several remote content servers that would then return the requested podcasts segments. At this time, Verosub notes that a "podcast creator" would then stitch the segments together appropriately into a single podcast file, and in some cases embed advertisements between the segments. The completed file would then be upload to an RSS server, where it would be downloaded to the users machine and synced to an iPhone, iPod or Apple TV for instant playback.

"In addition," Verosub added, "for management of podcasts, a client device or a portable media device can also be configured so that the podcasts are automatically maintained or discarded based on any of a number of different criteria. For example, the number of podcasts (or episodes thereof) being maintained could be limited and the oldest stored podcast can be deleted when more than the predetermined number of podcasts (or episodes thereof) is being stored."
post #2 of 10
You have to love all this web 2.0 type development...
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Been using Apples since 1978 and Macs since 1984
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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 #3 of 10
I've had 2 wishes that seem related to this..... but don't quite fit
1) I'd like to listen to an hour long podcast but have it add songs from one of my playlists at specified "breaks" in the podcast. I could listen to Mac news (for instance) between my 4 & 5 star songs.
2) I'd like to watch interactive news. We can watch movie trailers quickly and easily - why can't I select "ABC News" on the AppleTV and select from a list of 30 stories (or watch a 3 minute summary while selecting each story I want to see more on, or watch an extended version of the news while skipping to the next story with the click of a button)

Apple has the pieces to make our previously one-way entertainment and information very interactive!
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

...
Apple has the pieces to make our previously one-way entertainment and information very interactive!

The implications for eduation are also huge...the one way 'push' has had limited appeal.

On demand topics, not quite customised e-books, but heading that way will better suit the learning styles of many in k-12 and tertiary locations.

Lectopia is well established in every college and university, however, the quality of the content is variable. so an interactive function would be very welcome.

The only issue here in Australia is the 'instant download' component. the broadband connection makes any larger files very slow in transmission.\
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by garybau View Post

The implications for eduation are also huge...the one way 'push' has had limited appeal.

On demand topics, not quite customised e-books, but heading that way will better suit the learning styles of many in k-12 and tertiary locations.

Lectopia is well established in every college and university, however, the quality of the content is variable. so an interactive function would be very welcome.

The only issue here in Australia is the 'instant download' component. the broadband connection makes any larger files very slow in transmission.\

I love this, as it lines up very well with a new media model I see emerging that I call 'Channel Me.' A core assertion of Channel Me is that unlike in "old media," where content was the star, in new media, it is about the users and giving them control of what they digest, how they digest it and with whom. The 'network' is audience not some artificial walled garden destination.

I wrote a post called Channel Me and the Rules of New Media that attempts to put some meat on the bones of this concept. Check it out if interested: http://thenetworkgarden.com/weblog/2...l_me_and_.html

Cheers,

Mark
post #6 of 10
All positive developments in podcasting, it just makes production more complex which is still something suited to large news organizations. Tagging, etc. makes for more work for the small content provider.

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post #7 of 10
I've yet to see anyone address how pod-casting could be made more lesson-centered rather than now-centered. Podcasting assumes the contest is more like time-dated news stories rather than classroom lessons that never expire.

Here's how it would work. Suppose I want to learn Japanese at about two lessons a week. Currently, I have to manage that myself. I get a list of podcasts from Japanese 101, download perhaps a dozen starting at the bottom of a long list starting at lesson 1. Every week I have to remember to move two onto my iPod and every six weeks to grab another 12 from that long list, somehow remembering how to take up where I left off. That's a hassle.

Much better would be a scheme that would let me specify which lesson to start with and how many lessons a week to download. No trouble, no bother, no remembering what to do when. Every week I get two more lessons.

--Mike Perry, Inklng Books, Seattle
Author of Untangling Tolkien
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by hypermark View Post

I love this, as it lines up very well with a new media model I see emerging that I call 'Channel Me.' A core assertion of Channel Me is that unlike in "old media," where content was the star, in new media, it is about the users and giving them control of what they digest, how they digest it and with whom. The 'network' is audience not some artificial walled garden destination.

I wrote a post called Channel Me and the Rules of New Media that attempts to put some meat on the bones of this concept.

Buzzword meltdown!

Who is the first weenie that thought using "digest" or "consume" with regards to media? I think it's a pretty dumb buzzword.

Anyway, I don't see the point in that. Podcasts are often short snippets anyway, there's nothing preventing the user from just switching tracks as they want.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

I've yet to see anyone address how pod-casting could be made more lesson-centered rather than now-centered. Podcasting assumes the contest is more like time-dated news stories rather than classroom lessons that never expire.

Here's how it would work. Suppose I want to learn Japanese at about two lessons a week. Currently, I have to manage that myself. I get a list of podcasts from Japanese 101, download perhaps a dozen starting at the bottom of a long list starting at lesson 1. Every week I have to remember to move two onto my iPod and every six weeks to grab another 12 from that long list, somehow remembering how to take up where I left off. That's a hassle.

Much better would be a scheme that would let me specify which lesson to start with and how many lessons a week to download. No trouble, no bother, no remembering what to do when. Every week I get two more lessons.

--Mike Perry, Inklng Books, Seattle
Author of Untangling Tolkien

Excellent suggestions... Steve, are you listening?

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post #10 of 10
I don't need to give any details because you all already know them!
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