Apple has applied for a patent that suggests the possibility of sending music between iPods and other devices. The patent, filed on September 1, 2006, describes a way to “send data” from portable devices to other electronic devices. It does not specify iPods or iPhones as part of the description.
The text includes “data exchange, transfer, and delivery for portable electronic devices” which covers a wide range of uses for the technology, from sharing protected and unprotected media files to receiving RSS feeds and a host of other data, as collected in Apple Insider.
Apple describes the patent as “methods and systems that facilitate the sending of data to electronic devices.”
As Apple explains, “one aspect belongs to the domain of sending information to portable electronic devices, such as mobile devices. In one case, a mobile device discovers another nearby mobile device. The mobile devices can then wirelessly transmit data to each other. Mobile devices, or their users, can control, request or modify the content sent ”.
The patent also suggests that subscription-based files (presumably including iTunes Store purchases) can be shared unlimitedly with other users.
The technology is similar to that used by Microsoft’s Zune player, but it appears that it will offer greater utility and easier-to-use functionality compared to that device.
The technology also includes the purchase of content, and access to a remote server for the acquisition of content.
The patent document provides schematic diagrams and in-depth explanations of what can be achieved using such technology.