We’ve been hearing a lot of rumors lately about the possibility of Apple unveiling a 3G-capable iPod Touch this Fall. The move would actually make a lot of sense, considering it would enable the devices to download more applications and other iTunes media while out and about.

Apparently, Apple has been working on a software solution to the iPod Touch’s Wi-Fi-only dilemma. 9to5Mac uncovered an interesting patent application in which engineers from Cupertino company describe a new method for making offline purchases…

The filing details an approach involving iTunes credits and cached media content. Users would be able to obtain iTunes credits (think iTunes gift cards) and use them to purchase media content while offline. A credits system would remove the layer of complicated encryption needed for credit card transactions.

“One or more media items that are not part of a user’s media library can be stored on an electronic device. When a user later wishes to play back one of the media items, but the device cannot connect to a communications network to provide payment information for purchasing the media items, the electronic device can use pre-paid credits that were purchased and stored by the device when a communications network was available to complete the purchased.”

The other half the equation is cached media content. The patent explains that a user’s electronic device would be able to store multiple media items that aren’t part of the user’s library (think Spotify). The encrypted files would be unlockable by purchasing them with the aforementioned credits.

How would it chose which files to cache? You know the Genius feature used in iTunes and the iOS iPod application? It collects information from a user’s song library and then recommends other tracks based on the data. The technology could be used to ensure that the cached content matches a user’s tastes.

The idea is actually rather genius. The first scenario that comes to my mind is a businessman loading up his iTunes account with credits before leaving for the airport. The offline purchasing system would come in handy during long flights where Wi-Fi isn’t offered.

What do you think of Apple’s offline purchasing idea?

  • Mick

    It might make sense to Apple but realistically most people already have some form of data plan with a contract on their mobile phone and if there anything likeme they certainly won’t want to pay for another data plan for their iPod. There is already an iPod with 3G and it’s called an iPhone !

  • rdqronos

    Love how the patent photo says version 2.1… this is from awhile ago, isn’t it?

    • Jareddd ffffff

      Haha that’s what I was thinking.. Hopefully the next iPhone won’t downgrade and ten only hold 8gb

  • idonjulio

    That iPhone screen looks a little bigger than usual.. Bwahahahaha!

  • Cookie Monster

    I don’t think Apple will be releasing an iPod Touch with 3G capability. Because:
    * It would be very close to become a phone (Skype credit, truphone, etc)
    * Apple will be selling less iPhones, which I believe is not in their plans lol
    So, could you explain me why do you think it’s possible?

  • Yea… Speaking of memory for the cache???? Especially on my 8gig iPod, 2gig are already “stolen” by the OS, leaving me a meager 6 gig for my own stuff – which I always have MAXXXXXXXed out.

    So, where would Apple have this cache of “unlockable genious” content?????……..

    Nice idea, but I’ve got to agree with Mick “…. its called an iPhone”

    – Eric

  • Dane

    This is a little dumb. They make it seem like people NEED to buy new content all of the time. I buy maybe one or two apps a month

  • Daniel

    Can anyone say piracy? Someone would figure out the encryption and start getting free music. Besides, my 8GB iPod touch is way too small to store the entire iTunes library in it…. Unless someone makes a 8PB NAND chip for the same price as the 8GB, this isn’t going to be practical.

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