Some folks feel that Apple has neglected podcasting in recent software updates. That could change, as the tech giant has been granted a patent (number 9,923,962) for “techniques and systems for supporting podcasting.”
The patent involves enhanced podcasts and techniques that facilitate their use. The improved techniques can pertain to creating, publishing, hosting, accessing, subscribing, managing, transferring, and/or playing podcasts. According to one aspect, a client application can subscribe to podcasts and then automatically monitor the podcasts for updates to be downloaded.
In the event that user interest in a podcast becomes inadequate, downloading of further updates can be restricted. According to another aspect, a podcast can be subscribed to through use of a portable subscription file. According to still another aspect, podcast feeds can be enhanced to include segment elements and other metadata.
In the patent, Apple says that podcasts are conventionally not easily managed on a host computer (think Macs). Podcasts often dynamically change as new episodes are released. Management of such dynamic media assets is complicated.
Additionally, to the extent that the host computer desires to support a portable media player, the host computer needs to manage the transfer of podcast data to the portable media player. Apple says there’s a need for techniques to manage and use podcasts on computers.
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.