Here’s the Abstract on the Patent from Apple
Improved techniques to facilitate generation, management and delivery of personalized media items for users are disclosed. Users are able to influence or control content within a media item being personalized. In one embodiment, personalized media items are podcasts. Users are able to influence or control the content in or with a podcast. In other words, a podcast can be created in accordance with a user’s needs or specifications so that the content within a podcast is customized or personalized for the user.
What Apple is proposing is allowing users to sample/ take portions of multiple podcasts that meet their interests, and download a combined podcast that includes the specified extracts requested. Think like an RSS reader where you get bits from multiple sites, but in audio.
In the image above, the user would pick content from a list, and that content would then be combined in the single podcast.
From the patent application again:
Besides the predetermined categories shown in FIG. 4C, the dialog screen 480 includes a custom button 482. Upon selection of the custom button 482, a user can be assisted with another dialog screen to create a category of content, namely, media content, that is to be included within the custom podcast. For example, in the case of sports, the user may desire to create a category that is specific to their interests. For example, the user may request to receive sports highlights from the weekend during the NFL season regarding specific teams or teams in the Eastern division. As another example, the user may desire to receive statistics regarding games played during the past week in the NFL.
Where it gets more interesting is the way the data is retrieved. The natural assumption is that this aggregates short form podcasts (which it will do as well), but the patent talks about stored podcast characteristics, which may tie-in with Apple’s patent for “Podmaps.” A Podmap is not unlike a sitemap, but obviously for audio, and would specify what was in a podcast when. In theory this new patent could extract audio from a larger podcast per the specs in the Podmap and place that audio in a new custom podcast besides material from other podcasts.
It’s a neat idea, but sampling data from an audio track would bypass things like preroll advertising in a podcast which may undermine the blossoming podcast advertising market. That said if this was to take off, what we would more likely see is more short form niche content that includes the ads, and possibly a downturn in longer podcasts; one hour long interviews don’t make for great sampling in a combined customized podcast as Apple is proposing with this patent.
(via Apple Insider)