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 Apple.com as of this writing.
Source: Patently Apple