Apple looks towards digital media sharing during iPhone calls

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple has spent some time outlining technology that would add a new level of interaction between iPhone users, such as the ability to share and control playback of digital media files like music tracks and video during a telephone call.



The concept is outlined in a 19-page patent filing discovered by AppleInsider this week titled "Methods and systems for mixing media with communications" and credited to Apple software engineer Jeffrey Terlizzi. It begins by noting that while media items are becoming increasingly portable for mobile users these days, they're still not as easily shared with others located remotely in real time.



"For example, an individual may call his friend to discuss music, but in order for the friend to listen to the music, the individual either may have to send the music to the friend using a device other than his telephone," according to the filing, "or he may have to end the phone call and use the telephone to send the friend an email with the music attached."



Cut-and-dried, Apple's approach to improving upon this limitation is to include an "Add Media" option to the iPhone's phone application that would allow users to attach and transmit media items to another iPhone user with whom they're currently engaged in a phone call. Among the listed types of media suitable for transmission during calls are music files, video, images, voicemails, and podcasts.



"For example, the user may initiate a telephone call with his friend in order to ask the friend if she is familiar with a particular song," Apple said. "Once the phone call has been established between the user and his friend, the user may select the song of interest from his communications device, and he may send the song to his friend over the same communication path used by the communications device to establish the communications operation, so that the two may continue their phone conversation while the song plays simultaneously."



Alternatively, the filing notes that "the communications device may receive a communications operation in the form of a request for a video conference, and once the conference is established, the user may select a video (e.g., a YouTube.TM. selection) to be sent back to the conference initiator by the communications device over the same communication path."



iPhone users would also have full control over playback of media items once they're shared, according to Apple. For example, they could pause and resume playback of a shared digital music track, skip to the next or previous track in the sender's music library, or switch to transmitting a different media item entirely.







Throughout the filing, the Cupertino-based company makes numerous references to interactive iPhone video conferences where digital media files are shared, something not possible with today's iPhone models because they don't include include a forward-facing video camera.



"For example, the user may wish to transmit a video media item to the recipient of a communications operation, where the ongoing communications operation is in the form of a video conference," Apple said. "Thus, there may be two video data streams to transmit to the recipient, one related to the media item and one related to the communications operation."







"There may also be two audio data streams to transmit. In order to transmit all of the streams over the same communication path, the control circuitry may employ a multiplexer to combine together any video streams, and to combine together any audio streams," the filing adds. "The multiplexer may then combine into one fixed stream the two combined streams. The control circuitry may signal the communications circuitry to transmit the fixed stream to the recipient of the communications operation using any suitable approach."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Now if we see any of this next week that will be awesome. If not, we know it's a possible evolution for the device.
  • Reply 2 of 21
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    The last image doesn't look too "thumb friendly"



    I think this is one of those patents that Apple is filing so if another company does it, Apple can sue, even if they don't have plans of implementing it. Hopefully we'll see it being used though because it's counter productive just to file for a patent and then never do anything with it, and punish those who do.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    The only thing that comes to mind when I read this… “Is this why Apple made MMS a 3G-only feature?"
  • Reply 4 of 21
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,565member
    All I can say is, BRING IT ON!! The new iPhone is looking better and better.



    I just hope we won't have to wait to long after the official announcement for retail availability.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    They should be working on other things to make the iPhone OS catch up to other systems that are very slowly starting to surpass it in some ways.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    The only thing that comes to mind when I read this… “Is this why Apple made MMS a 3G-only feature?"



    Update: Apple's official PR on the subject has given us just a bit more to chew on. We're told that MMS will enable iPhone 3G users to "send and receive photos, contacts, audio files and locations with the Messages app," hinting that Apple may just smash MMS and SMS together into a single 'Messages' app in OS 3.0. Also of note, owners will also be able to "forward and delete multiple messages."

    http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/17/m...apples-iphone/



    Sounds like this may be in use after all. I guess they wanted to group everything into one messages app, and since sending audio files can get big, having it on the 1st gen iphone might not be viable (take way too long.)
  • Reply 7 of 21
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    They should be working on other things to make the iPhone OS catch up to other systems that are very slowly starting to surpass it in some ways.



    I'm sure they have an eye on everything and aren't concerned. At this point, they'll work at their own pace and know they can still have a product that appeals to a very large consumer base.
  • Reply 8 of 21
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chronster View Post


    The last image doesn't look too "thumb friendly"



    I think this is one of those patents that Apple is filing so if another company does it, Apple can sue, even if they don't have plans of implementing it. Hopefully we'll see it being used though because it's counter productive just to file for a patent and then never do anything with it, and punish those who do.



    Has Apple ever done that? Patent a tech that they didn't implement, I mean, and subsequently sue someone for using it.



    I could be wrong, but I can't think of an instance of that happening.
  • Reply 9 of 21
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,565member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    They should be working on other things to make the iPhone OS catch up to other systems that are very slowly starting to surpass it in some ways.



    After reading Engadget's thorough review of the Pre, I must say that I'm thoroughly impressed with the OS in comparison to the iPhone. If it weren't for the fact that the build quality is shoddy, the materials are crap, and the keyboard is not all that great, I might have actually considered it.



    But strictly looking at it from the OS front, this looks like the first REAL challenge to the iPhone. I especially like the multi-tasking aspect of it.
  • Reply 10 of 21
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    It should be noted that the 3GPP (the standards body behind UMTS/HSDPA) has already agreed on an interopable standard for media sharing. Carriers such as AT&T are planning to implement it very soon.



    Why Apple feels the need to do their own proprietary thing is a mystery.
  • Reply 11 of 21
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chronster View Post


    Update: Apple's official PR on the subject has given us just a bit more to chew on. We're told that MMS will enable iPhone 3G users to "send and receive photos, contacts, audio files and locations with the Messages app," hinting that Apple may just smash MMS and SMS together into a single 'Messages' app in OS 3.0. Also of note, owners will also be able to "forward and delete multiple messages."

    http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/17/m...apples-iphone/



    Sounds like this may be in use after all. I guess they wanted to group everything into one messages app, and since sending audio files can get big, having it on the 1st gen iphone might not be viable (take way too long.)



    I believe MMS can already do audio and video over EDGE and GPRS enabled phones, so I have to assume that the 3G requirement may be a non-standard format that can so much larger files and different file types. Is there a limit to the file size and type for the standard MMS?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Has Apple ever done that? Patent a tech that they didn't implement, I mean, and subsequently sue someone for using it.



    I could be wrong, but I can't think of an instance of that happening.



    There are lot of tech they patent and never use and most of it that they do use tends to look very different than how it is patented, save for the ones that come out alongside the product. As an example of an unused patent, the under-chassis optical drive access comes to mind.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post


    After reading Engadget's thorough review of the Pre, I must say that I'm thoroughly impressed with the OS in comparison to the iPhone. If it weren't for the fact that the build quality is shoddy, the materials are crap, and the keyboard is not all that great, I might have actually considered it.



    But strictly looking at it from the OS front, this looks like the first REAL challenge to the iPhone. I especially like the multi-tasking aspect of it.



    I agree that it is the best challenger to the iPhone at this point, even though RiM?s BB OS and Nokia?s Symbian will continue to outsell the iPhone?s OS X for a long time to come. In terms of a modern OS for media-based smartphones with strong web capabilities it?s a challenger. It also looks very nice, but we?ll have to wait for the proper hands on reviews this weekend to see how intuitive the UI feels and if the HTML, CSS and JS-based apps will be powerful enough to compete with the iPhone?s Cocoa-based apps. Just like with the iPod-line, Palm doesn?t have to do everything better or offer more to have a winner, they just have to excel in a few key places. I wish them well and I?m kicking myself for not buying Palm earlier this year when it was $1/share? now it?s at $13/share.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    There are quite a few limits on MMS sizes based on the phone type and network, older and cheaper GPRS based phones will often support up to 100kb, some support up to 300kb others up to 400kb.



    Photo's are resized first by the phone sending the MMS, then by the network, the quality can drop significantly, then the message has to be under the size limit imposed by the receiving phone.



    I don't even intend to use MMS on my iPhone I consider it a waste of time and money compared to email.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I believe MMS can already do audio and video over EDGE and GPRS enabled phones, so I have to assume that the 3G requirement may be a non-standard format that can so much larger files and different file types. Is there a limit to the file size and type for the standard MMS?



  • Reply 13 of 21
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism;1425754

    There are lot of tech they patent and never use and most of it that they do use tends to look very different than how it is patented, save for the ones that come out alongside the product. As an example of an unused patent, the under-chassis optical drive access comes to mind.[INDENT



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...notebooks.html[/INDENT]



    Right, but I was responding to the idea that they do the "patent squatting" thing, and sue people for stuff that they've never implemented. I can't think of an example of that.
  • Reply 14 of 21
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addabox View Post


    Right, but I was responding to the idea that they do the "patent squatting" thing, and sue people for stuff that they've never implemented. I can't think of an example of that.



    Gotcha! Yeah, I can?t think of a single patent they?ve not developed but then tried to claim was theirs.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Just give me a big button on the call screen that sends my GPS coordinated to the other party. That would be really useful--a map would pop up on their end.



    And use a common standard for this (specialized format of SMS?) among all phones/carriers, not just iPhones. Since GPS on phones is getting more common.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    So basically its iChat Theatre for iPhone, awesome. If and when implemented though, it best be included in the unlimited data plan, or maybe special inclusive 'media minutes' allowance. I'd assume Apple's close relationships with the iPhone carrier networks would ensure this.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    macnycmacnyc Posts: 342member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chronster View Post


    The last image doesn't look too "thumb friendly"



    I think this is one of those patents that Apple is filing so if another company does it, Apple can sue, even if they don't have plans of implementing it. Hopefully we'll see it being used though because it's counter productive just to file for a patent and then never do anything with it, and punish those who do.



    Yup, that has always been Apple's business plan, file for patents, not implement them and sue if anyone else does. That's why they have close to $30 billion in the bank, by never actually creating anything, just filing patents and suing!

  • Reply 18 of 21
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Just give me a big button on the call screen that sends my GPS coordinated to the other party. That would be really useful--a map would pop up on their end.



    And use a common standard for this (specialized format of SMS?) among all phones/carriers, not just iPhones. Since GPS on phones is getting more common.



    That would be cool. In fact, it would be so cool that, if Apple is in fact implementing this sharing thing, I'd wager this is something they'd make sure to implement as a native app.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    Nice feature, perfectly aligned with modern trend of the development of wireless protocols.

    What I would bet is it would take nearly decade for certain carriers to implement.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    jousterjouster Posts: 460member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post




    But strictly looking at it from the OS front, this looks like the first REAL challenge to the iPhone. I especially like the multi-tasking aspect of it.



    I thought I would. But then I realized that the only time I need it is to listen to music in the background. If I'm reading e-mail and need to check the calendar, it's only a couple extra taps to do what I need. Would the Pre solve this better? Sure. Is it a substantial advantage? Not in my opinion.



    Other things - guaranteed iTunes compatibility, the app store, the online content, the third party peripheral market - make the iPhone more appealing to me.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macnyc View Post


    Yup, that has always been Apple's business plan, file for patents, not implement them and sue if anyone else does. That's why they have close to $30 billion in the bank, by never actually creating anything, just filing patents and suing!





    He never claimed that was their business plan. But you're living in cloud cuckoo land if you think Apple (and plenty of other companies) doesn't do this.
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