An Apple patent filing (number 8370555) has appeared at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a method and system for allowing a media player to determine if it supports the capabilities of an accessory.
Per the patent, the method and system comprise requesting information about the capabilities of the accessory by the media player and providing information about the capabilities of the accessory by the accessory to the media player. The method and system further include utilizing the information to determine if the capabilities of the accessory are supported by the media player.
Accordingly, a method and system in accordance with the present invention provides a system that allows a media player to obtain information from an accessory about the accessory’s capability. A media player can then utilize this information to allow for the maximum functionality of the accessory when connected to the media player.
Here’s Apple’s background on the invention: “A media player stores media assets, such as audio tracks, videos, and photos that can be played or displayed on the media player. One example of a media player is the iPod media player, which is available from Apple Computer, Inc. of Cupertino, Calif. Often, a media player acquires its media assets from a host computer that serves to enable a user to manage media assets. As an example, the host computer can execute a media management application to manage media assets. One example of a media management application is iTunes, version 6.0, produced by Apple Computer, Inc.
“A media player typically includes one or more connectors or ports that can be used to interface to the media player. For example, the connector or port can enable the media player to couple to a host computer, be inserted into a docking system, or receive an accessory device. There are today many different types of accessory devices that can interconnect to the media player.
“For example, a remote control can be connected to the connector or port to allow the user to remotely control the media player. As another example, an automobile can include a connector and the media player can be inserted onto the connector such that an automobile media system can interact with the media player, thereby allowing the media content on the media player to be played within the automobile.
“Currently, the connectors or ports of a media player are open for use so long as a compatible connector or port is utilized. Consequently, numerous third-parties have developed accessory devices for use with other manufacturers’ media players. One difficulty is that since a media player communicates with a variety of accessories it does not know the capabilities of the accessory and may not support the capabilities of the accessory.
“Accordingly, it is desirable for the media player to know those capabilities and to know whether it supports the capabilities of an associated accessory. Therefore it is also desirable to provide a method and system for allowing a media player to efficiently and effectively determine the capabilities of an accessory and determine if the media player supports such capabilities. The present invention addresses such a need.”
The inventors are Paul Holden, Greg Marriott, Donald J. Novotney, John Benjamin Filson and David Tupman.
Apple has also been granted another patent (number D675,612) for the iPhone design.