Apple has filed for a patent (number 20190158552) for a network media device that pulls multimedia data from one or more sources (e.g., a multimedia website or a multimedia server computer) at a first time, stores it to long-term storage within the device and transmits the stored multimedia data to one or more designated multimedia playback devices at a second time.
It hints at an Apple NAS device/home server, something I’ve long wanted. (The iServe, perhaps?) Imagine a range of iServe appliances, all based on the Mac mini form factor, that provide services throughout homes such as always-on Siri. With microphones distributed throughout a home, it would be easy and useful to have this capability.
This may or may not be what Apple has in mind, but this isn’t the first patent filing involves a home media server. In the latest patent filing, the tech giant notes that with the increasing capacity and capability of personal computers, as well as improved multimedia interfaces for these computers, it has become popular to use personal computers as a repository for multimedia content, such as songs, movies, etc.
Services such as iTunes and the substantially unlimited storage space provided by modern personal computer systems has resulted in an environment where many consumers use their personal computer as their primary vehicle for obtaining, storing; and accessing multimedia information. Apple says that, because consumers may access their multimedia content at virtually any time of the day, however, this implies that one's personal computer system must be powered and operational at all times.
What’s more, consumers may prefer to experience certain media content, particularly video content such as movies, using more entertainment-oriented devices; such as home theater systems, which typically include larger screens and higher fidelity audio systems than personal computer systems. Apple says it would be beneficial to provide a mechanism whereby a consumer could off-load, over a computer network, specified multimedia content to a playback device that could at a later time, send the information to conventional entertainment devices such as stereo equipment, televisions, home theatre systems, etc.
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.