Apple granted iTunes user interface patent

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014


Apple on Tuesday was awarded a long-awaited patent regarding the user interface of of the iTunes Store that incorporates past applications covering how a user browses, searches for and purchases content.



The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published patent for a "Graphical user interface for browsing, searching and presenting media items" nearly 8 years after Apple originally filed the application in 2004.



The '411 patent describes iTunes as a standalone computer program that is able to organize, present and sell media pulled from an off-site server in an intuitive and easy-to-use format.



From the patent abstract:

Quote:

Improved graphical user interfaces suitable for reviewing, browsing, previewing and/or purchasing media items are also disclosed. The graphical user interfaces are suitable for reviewing or browsing numerous media items. The graphical user interfaces are also suitable for previewing or purchasing media items in an on-line manner. The graphical user interfaces are particularly useful for a system that provides purchase and distribution of media in a client-server environment.



The patent provides for a graphical UI in which windows and sub-windows display media classified by data sets, moving from broad "genre" categories to the more specific "artist" or "song name." Hyperlinks are used to move through the aggregated data and appear as lists through which a user can navigate.



Parsing the information by rows, columns and lists in different sub-windows within the main iTunes window makes for a clean, information-rich interface that has become the hallmark of Apple's online store.





Windowed iTunes UI with hyperlinked lists. | Source: USPTO







Apple officially launched the iTunes Music Store in April 2003 and filed the '411 patent a year later, claiming invention of the fledgling program's basic look and feel which was much like its Mac OS X "Jaguar" contemporary.



At the time, the iTunes Music Store UI had to handle 200,000 songs, compared to the well over 20 million available today. Due to the massive catalog, the program has seen significant backend changes since it was first launched, but even the latest version 10.6.1 which rolled out in March still carries the same basic design as the original.





Classic iTunes interface. | Source: USPTO







As the amount of digital content on the store grew to forms of media other than music, the service was renamed the "iTunes Store" to reflect the various offerings available like movies, podcasts and ultimately books and apps.



First leveraging the popularity of the iPod, the iTunes Store now offers content to a variety of devices including the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. With the hot-selling iDevice product line and a powerful sales model, Apple's iTunes has become the world's largest music store and has served up over 16 billion songs and 25 billion apps to date.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Eight years, huh.



    What the heck was the holdup?
  • Reply 2 of 23
    ivladivlad Posts: 740member
    Aha! Apple now can sue Spotify and Google Music.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,454member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iVlad View Post


    Aha! Apple now can sue Spotify and Google Music.



    If the shoe fits, then yes.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,497member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iVlad View Post


    Aha! Apple now can sue Spotify and Google Music.



    Awesome. It's soon going to get very ugly over at Google.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Why the hell can you patent what's basically a nested list? What happened to novelty and inventive step?
  • Reply 6 of 23
    dualiedualie Posts: 333member
    Great! Just in time to throw it out and start over.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Euphonious View Post


    Why the hell can you patent what's basically a nested list? What happened to novelty and inventive step?



    It's not quite that simple.



    Read and understand the claims before commenting.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,526member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Eight years, huh.



    What the heck was the holdup?



    Enjoy your small government.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,497member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    It's not quite that simple.



    Read and understand the claims before commenting.



    Two thumbs up.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualie View Post


    Great! Just in time to throw it out and start over.



    I certainly hope so. iTunes could be really really great if they just drop the idea that they have to keep the same UI they've had for the last decade.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    Enjoy your small government.



    Having what to do with this? Government controlling every aspect of our lives wouldn't get patents pushed through any faster. Please don't bring politics into things for the sake of doing so.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,497member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    Enjoy your small government.



    I'd love one, thanks.
  • Reply 12 of 23
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  • Reply 13 of 23
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I'd love one, thanks.



  • Reply 14 of 23
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 446member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    It's not quite that simple.



    Read and understand the claims before commenting.



    I guess he confused it with the VisualWorks Smalltalk IDE that just looked the same and drilled through packages/classes/methods with details down below instead of artists/albums/songs with detail down below... uh...



    Sorry, they tossed in 'hyperlink' and 'multimedia' so it's pretty different. Our mistake.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    aaronjaaronj Posts: 1,595member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    I certainly hope so. iTunes could be really really great if they just drop the idea that they have to keep the same UI they've had for the last decade.



    Yes, a UI upgrade would be nice. What I would like to see, however, is breaking it up, a la iOS.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    radjinradjin Posts: 165member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I'd love one, thanks.



    Take two, they should be small.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post


    …breaking it up, a la iOS.



    No, that's a bad idea.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post


    Yes, a UI upgrade would be nice. What I would like to see, however, is breaking it up, a la iOS.



    I hear this often but I have not heard of this is to be done properly.



    I've heard people say "Break music into one app, movies into another, TV shows into another, podcasts into yet another, blah blah blah." I don't see how that is to work. That's like having a Contacts app for phone numbers, another for addresses, another for email addresses and so on.



    I want to be able to sync all my devices from within one app, and I want my media to be organized from within one app.



    The areas I'd change aren't even part of people's complaints. I want more media types can be added to iTunes and have the option to have QuickTime or any other app launch an d play my media when clicked. IOW, I want iTunes to be my digital media organizer but I hate that many video types can't be added and I hate the default video player. Because of this I still don't use iTunes for video storage.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    ljocampoljocampo Posts: 657member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AaronJ View Post


    Yes, a UI upgrade would be nice. What I would like to see, however, is breaking it up, a la iOS.



    What I'd like to see is an easier way to browse for content. iTunes isn't as bad for music as finding an app in the iTunes App Store. I was trying to find apps for my new iPad. It had 19K apps under the category I was looking for but would only show 20 or so at a time in its graphical representation. I think that browsing is iTunes weakest link. Now they'll need a new patent to fix it.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,526member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Having what to do with this? Government controlling every aspect of our lives wouldn't get patents pushed through any faster. Please don't bring politics into things for the sake of doing so.



    Having to do with patents take a long time to be approved, because the patent office, like many other government entities, is understaffed due to underfunding by people trying to cut government. My reply was no more political than your rhetorical question.
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