Dubbed “Seamless switching between radio and local media,” the patent describes a method for “seamlessly switching media playback between a media broadcast, such as a radio broadcast, and media from a local media library.” That seamless switching occurs when the respective device “determines that an upcoming media item in a media broadcast is not of interest to a user.”
So basically, Apple’s patent will allow users to listen or view their own stored media when ads are streaming.
It could also hurt Pandora: When listening to a station on Pandora, for example, users who don’t pay extra will be forced to listen to commercials. Apple’s patent seems to indicate that when those commercials are played, its devices will automatically go back to audio or video stored locally.
However, the patent doesn’t just describe commercials. As Apple notes, users might not be interested in certain segments in shows, and can also have the technology take over and switch over to something else, notes a CNet story.
In order to actually determine what’s shown and take users out of the equation of switching to other media, Apple’s technology uses broadcast listings, scheduling information, and Radio Data System (RDS) descriptions.
RBR-TVBR observation: Just because the patent is in Apple’s hands, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will use it any time soon. Radio stations that stream don’t get a heck of a lot of revenue from ad insertions, so they would suffer less than the TargetSpots (ad insertion networks) of this world. Pandora only plays one ad at a time, so users may not care so much to bother with replacing the ad with music. But if this is put into their devices and hyped right with advertising, it may move product. The problem then, of course, will be content providers denying Apple devices their streams altogether.