“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,417,575 for ‘On-device offline purchases using credits,’ which describes a system involving the purchase of offline credits stored on a given device that can be put toward media in the iTunes store even when not connected to the online marketplace,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“Currently, iTunes users must be logged in or have an internet connection to successfully purchase and download content from the online storefront, but Tuesday’s patent lays the groundwork for a type of ‘pre-loaded’ payment system,” Campbell reports. “Beyond the obvious applications for on-the-go iPod touch users and perhaps frequent travelers, the patent could be a harbinger of new never before seen iTunes functionality.”

Campbell reports, “Users can add credits to their device accounts either through the device itself or what appears to be a specialized portal on the desktop version of iTunes, along with other options… It remains unknown if and when Apple plans to roll out the offline crediting functionality, but the device-specific solution could theoretically be implemented with a firmware update as no hardware limitations were described in the patent.”

Read more, and see Apple’s patent application illustrations and diagrams, in the full article here.

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