'Podmap' Patent Sought by Apple

Dennis Faas's picture

Do you podcast?

Podcasting is "is a collection of digital media files which is distributed over the Internet, often using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers." (Source wikipedia.org)

Last week, Apple officially filed for a patent on a new variant of podcasting medium. The company's proposal for a patent on the 'podmap' concept was filed in January 2007 but had remained undisclosed until just recently. (Source: appleinsider.com)

According to the patent filing, the concept involves four central components, which will become the crux of this audio-visual medium. Users will be able to input electronic request for directions to a destination, which will be sent to a remote map server. From there, the user's request will be processed and responded to via a combination of audio files and graphics. In turn, the data is processed by a 'podmap creator', which ultimately publishes a final product in the form of a video podcast file with imbedded graphics. The user will be notified of the successful creation of the podmap through a RSS server, which can be accessed by the user and played in a compatible device. (Source: iphonealley.com)

This on-demand concept allows Apple to provide an innovative alternative to GPS functions that have been lacking in the company's current devices. Both the iPhone and iPod touch currently utilize mapping utilities through Google Maps, but cannot cache map information when not connected to either a Wifi or wireless network. (Source: electronista.com)

Apple did not specify which devices in its current lineup will be able to make use of this concept, however podmap functionality is very similar to that of regular podcasts. The company suggested that podmaps will be broken into segments to allow the user to access each step in a set of directions separately, which pause, play and repeat functions.

While a patent request demonstrates some interest on the part of Apple to this concept, industry insiders are quick to point out that the company frequently applies for patents for new concepts, but only a few ever turn out to be anything more. However, in light of the increasing demand for podcasts by owners of portable media devices, the podmap concept is likely to be implemented by Apple in the near future. (Source: tuaw.com)

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