May 12, 2009

iTunes Kiosks for movie downloads on the go

music.jpgApple files patent for download kiosk. Just as the digital music and movie kiosk business appears poised to launch, it looks like startup companies in the space could face some heavyweight competition from Apple.

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Apple filed a patent in 2007 for a digital entertainment kiosk capable of delivering movies and music to portable devices over a wireless connection. The kiosks would be placed in areas where wi-fi isn’t available, such as on airplanes and in airports, according to the filing.

AppleInsider dug up the patent last week.

In the filing, Apple says it will deliver movies over a “virtual physical connection” between portable devices, mobile phones, etc. and the kiosk.

Apple says it chose to use a wireless connection rather than requiring that a device be hooked up to it because “the continuous engagement and disengagement of the media device connector may result in excessive wear and failure of the connector.”

Apple says the kiosks could be placed anywhere and “address deficiencies” in other systems and methods for delivering media.

“The media distribution system advantageously enables the distribution of media content to a media device via a [kiosk] residing in virtually any location such as an airport, hotel, stadium, train station, shopping mall, stores, planes, ships, public transportation vehicles and the like,” according to the filing.

Users could not only download new content to their devices, they also could access other digital content they own.

Sensors in the kiosk would be able to tell when a portable device (presumably an Apple portable) was nearby.

The kiosks would be filled with popular content, but it also would be able to connect with the iTunes store so that users could download other content.

Earlier this year, Warner Bros. and Paramount Digital Entertainment became the first studios to sign deals to offer downloads through digital kiosks in an agreement with MOD Systems. MOD, which is backed by heavyweights Toshiba and NCR, is in talks with three retailers to put kiosks in stores in the second half of the year in a pilot launch. MOD’s kiosks would allow users to save movies onto an SD memory card, the type used to store digital photos. Users would save the movie to the card and then place the card in a compatible device or use a bridge device to watch it on a TV.

Posted by staff at May 12, 2009 07:18 AM