Apple has been granted a new patent that would allow listeners to chop out unwanted commercials or songs from live radio stations and switch seamlessly to audio stored on their device.
The system will keep monitoring the original source in the background and then cut back to it at a suitable time.
The proposed technology will create a user profile and build up preferences based on what listeners like or don’t like.
The US patent also mentions “non-radio media or content sources”, such as internet streams, which could also be switched between your music collection and back again.
Apple seems to have thought about how choppy that could make things sound, so it includes this additional information:
“If the local media item playback is not complete when a desirable broadcast media item is detected, the electronic device can record or buffer the media broadcast and switch to the broadcast stream when playback of the local media item ends. The electronic device can play back from the buffered media broadcast, and jump back to the live broadcast at any suitable time, including for example if playback of a buffered media item ends as a desirable media item is broadcast.”
The patent application was filed on 14 October 2011 and granted on 21 August 2012.
Quite what “electronic devices” Apple is referring to is open to question. There is currently no conventional radio feature included in products such as the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, though the iPod nano does have an FM tuner mode.
Any of Apple’s internet connected mobile gadgets can run internet radio apps, of course, including live streaming of thousands of local, national and international radio stations.
The patent also refers to the system working by connecting two devices if necessary, including wirelessly.
There have been rumours in the past few months that the iPhone 5 will have radio tuners enabled on board, so this ad and track-skipping technology could one day form part of that, too.
If it comes to fruition, it will be interesting to hear how effectively this actually works, though if it does, it won’t go down well with the commercial radio industry, that’s for sure.
Via Radio Today
Images: Apple and TuneIn Radio