It seems that Apple may be reviving its old AirTunes trademark for purposes unknown, Patently Apple reported Monday. AirTunes became AirPlay in 2010 so it’s a mystery as to why precisely Apple has now decided to file for the figurative trademark “AirTunes” with the European Union’s Trademark Office.

According to a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) document, the U.S. trademark for “AirTunes” expired on November 11, 2016. The AirTunes feature originally worked with the original AirPort router.

AirTunes first appeared in 2004 as a software feature designed to work with the then new AirPort Express wireless router, which included an optical audio port. With AirTunes, customers were able to stream music wirelessly from iTunes for Mac to the speakers connected to their AirPort Express appliance.

Before becoming AirPlay six years later, AirTunes used UDP for streaming audio and was based on the RTSP network control protocol. The audio streams were sent at the original full volume and transcoded using the Apple Lossless codec with 44100 Hz and two channels encrypted with AES.

It supported streaming to multiple targets, each with its own volume control.

In September 2010, AirTunes was rechristened into AirPlay and gained the ability to wirelessly stream video content through the Apple TV.

Bloomberg said last month that Apple recently ceased AirPort development, disbanded the team and dispersed engineers to other product development groups, including the one handling the Apple TV.

The Cupertino firm never officially confirmed the report.

The alleged change could indicate that either new AirPort products won’t be developed or that AirPort functionality might be eventually integrated into future gadgets, such as a next-generation Apple TV or a standalone Siri appliance.

Although AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule devices were pulled briefly in May from Apple retail and online stores in the United States, all AirPorts continue to be available for purchase from as of this writing.

Source: Patently Apple

  • Agneev Mukherjee

    Maybe because they are introducing another AirPort… I know that a Bloomberg report says otherwise, but  didn’t finalize anything…

    • Charles222

      I think the Bloomberg report is wrong. Seems unlikely they’d be pushing firmware updates for the devices if Airport was being shut down, and I got one about a week ago.

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        I hope so…

      • Icisz


  • techfreak23

    Maybe it will be their answer to Spotify Connect… or even just to keep the trademark?

  • 5723alex .

    I want AirPlay to stream video.

    • Michael Miller

      It does.

    • Neil Urban

      You can stream just about anything via AirPlay. Your iDevice/Mac’s display content; video and music content from those devices… even live gameplay from video games (though there is often transmission lag). This all has been possible for years.

      • 5723alex .

        Only for the unimportant Apple TV but not to the billion of home cinema systems with AirPlay support.

      • burge

        Well if yo know how to setup a good system you can incorporate the ATV in to it.

      • 5723alex .

        I have already another and better streamer. I want AirPlay to stream video.

      • burge

        AirPlay will stream video. I use it with my ATV, It’s your receiving device can’t receive airplay. Maybe it’s time you purchase something else that can use this feature if you really require this feature.

      • Neil Urban

        True. However, AirPlay is an Apple service designed to work best and function richly with other Apple products. To get the best out of AirPlay, you will need an AppleTV. This should come as no surprise, as a large part of Apple’s catch-and-reel is that their products and services work best with *each other* — the more Apple you own, the stronger, tighter, and more efficient your Apple-product experience becomes.

        I’ve never owned a different set-top box aside from AppleTV, however I’ve used a Roku before. I believe that box has limited AirPlay compatibility. It likely varies from app-to-app.