New patent filing hints at an Apple home server/NAS device

Occasionally an Apple patent filing pops up at that hints at an Apple NAS device/home server, something I’ve long wanted. Another one (number 20170149923) has appeared, this one for “remote access of media items.”

Methods and systems that facilitate the downloading of media items to a first network device from a second network device are disclosed. Metadata associated with the items is obtained from the second network device and stored on the first network device. The items are stored on the first network device. 

In the patent filing, Apple notes that many users purchase media items such as songs or movies online and store them on a network device such as a Mac. However, users often own and use multiple devices. For instance, many users own portable electronic devices such as iPhones, iPod touches and iPads that they use to play media items.

Apple says that, unfortunately, downloading media items from a host computer to a media player can be a time-consuming process. As a result, many users find themselves without the media items they would like on their portable devices. 

Apple says it would be desirable if the desired media items could be accessed via an electronic device such as a portable device without requiring the user to download all of the media items onto the electronic device when the media player is physically connected to the host computer. 

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.