“Another day, another Apple patent filing. This time, Apple calls dibs on an ‘audio user interface for computing devices.’ Nothing new right? Afterall, we’ve had audio assisted navigation for years. The system described however, uses the relative power of a host system to auto-generate audio tags from text strings which can then be played by a hand-held device such as an ‘MP3 player, mobile phone, or PDA,'” Thomas Ricker reports for Enagdget. “And since this could likely be a software only enhancement to existing Apple ‘ware, implementing it could be just be a free, point-release upgrade away… hear that display-less Shuffle owners?”
Full article here.
“The tags are generated from the metadata of your music or video files – the text information like author, song name and duration, film director or lead actor name, etc;- which comes with a song or video that you download from iTunes store. This text information is then converted using text-to-speech software into a small audio files – audio navigation tags. The iPod computing capabilities are too small to do a good text-to speech translation, so this operation is carried out on your Mac or PC,” Unwired View’s “stace” explains. “Audio navigation tags then are attached to the songs or videos themselves and transferred to you iPod. When getting there, audio navigation tags can be stored with the songs themselves or transferred to a separate database and then synchronized with the navigation menu. The same audio information can be generated for user playlists and every song in the playlist.”
“So for example when an iPod user wants to play “In the air tonight” by Phil Collins he navigates to the song using his preferred path: “Menu”->”Music”->”Pop”->”Phil Collins”->”In the air tonight”->”Play”. However instead of having to look at the screen, all along the way he hears audio prompts advising him on the next navigation steps,” “stace” explains. “The clever thing with this particular Apple’s patent seems to be the way they solved the dynamic synchronization problem for constantly changing metafiles of huge music collections stored on the iPod. By dynamically generating audio tags in iTunes on your computer when song is downloaded or playlist is created and then synchronizing it with the iPod, Apple is able to make audio navigation as easy to use and update as current text navigation system. And since no hardware and navigation control changes are necessary, audio navigation can be added to current iPods through simple software update.”
More in the full article, including patent application artwork, here.
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