Recently, Apple was awarded a patent for a system which involves the purchase of offline credits stored on a given device that can be put toward media in the iTunes store even if it is not connected to the online marketplace.
In present, iTunes users need to be logged in or have an internet connection in order to successfully acquire and download content from the online storefront, but this new patent appears to be the groundwork for a “pre-loaded” payment system.
Apple’s new service seems to include media stocked on an electronic device which is not part of the user’s owned library. In case the users would like to get a track, but he is not able to connect to the internet in order to pay, he has the chance to use pre-paid credits. These are already purchased through the store and subsequently loaded onto the device.
Users have two options. They can choose to add credits to their device accounts through the device itself, as well as they can select a specialized portal on the desktop version of iTunes. Furthermore, purchasers are able to pick from different forms of payment, such as credit cards, bank accounts and other digitally connected assets which can be linked to their online profile.
The purchased media item can be transferred to the user’s media library at any suitable time. In order to be played, a device must first have a copy of said media item, as well as permission to play back the content. As noted by the patent, the device can restrict access to the content until authorization, or a purchase, has been detected. The restrictions can appear in different forms. It can be represented by inferior quality or by limiting the number of times the media can be played.
An additional feature of this new system is the fact that locally-stored media can be displayed in a variety of arrangements. Therefore, it can possess a layout similar to the existing iTunes iOS app, feature able to ease the browsing and buying of a new content.
Apple’s offline purchasing patent was first filed for in 2010 and crediting Taido Nakajima, Tyler Mincey, Gloria Lin and Joey Darragh as its inventors. Until now there is no certainty if and when Apple plans to roll out the offline crediting functionality. However, the device-specific result could be implemented with a firmware update, on account of the fact that there were no hardware limitations described in the patent.