Apple has applied for a patent for "systems and methods…for accessing broadcast media items and segments from non-broadcast sources." It describes a function in which a user may be listening to a broadcast, but for whatever reason is unable to finish listening to the broadcast, can pick up where they left off via non-broadcast media (like a Podcast). The description and images below make it much clearer:
Systems and methods are provided for accessing broadcast media items and segments from non-broadcast sources. In response to detecting that a user has not finished listening to a broadcast segment (e.g., a radio segment), an electronic device can automatically identify and access an alternate, non-broadcast source for the same broadcast segment (e.g., a corresponding podcast episode). Using the electronic device, a user can play back the segment from the non-broadcast source, starting playback at the last position of the broadcast segment when the user stopped listening to the broadcast. In some embodiments, the electronic device can update library counts (e.g., play counts and new/not new tags) based on media items and segments played back as part of a media broadcast.
A second patent application relating to radio is for "seamless switching between radio and local media." This one is kind of interesting, but we don't know how many people will like it.
Let's paint a quick scenario: You listen to your local hits station on your iPhone (which in this case may already be equipped with an FM tuner) and iTunes knows that you hate ABBA because of the listening habits it's picked up on over the last few months. The upcoming song is by ABBA. Based on this, your iPhone seamlessly switches to something on your playlist that is related to the station your were listening to, but isn't ABBA. Tragedy averted. Here's the description of the patent application:
Systems and methods are provided for seamlessly switching media playback between a media broadcast, such as a radio broadcast, and media from a local media library. When an electronic device determines that an upcoming media item in a media broadcast is not of interest to a user, the electronic device can switch playback from the media stream to a media item from the electronic device local library. The selected local media item can be related to a previously broadcast media item to ensure continuity in the user's listening or viewing experience. The electronic device can switch away from the local media item and return to the media stream when the media stream again broadcasts media items or segments of interest to the user.
In a third patent that Apple is hoping to obtain, are methods for providing recommended radio stations based on user preferences. For instance, if your device detects you listen to a lot of death and speed metal, it may point you to the local college radio station, while listening to Kanye or Lady Gaga may point you to the pop station. This is probably based on artist names, genres, etc. Looks like Apple hopes to take Genius playlists one step further with these ideas.
Here is a description of the patent Apple has applied for:
Systems and methods are provided for providing recommended radio stations to a user. In particular, an electronic device can compare media from a locally stored or accessed media library with media items provided as part of radio streams received by the device. The electronic device can identify the radio streams having the most media items overlapping with the local library, and recommend those streams as being most likely to be of interest to the user. The electronic device can further access a remote database of a large number of users' libraries, and receive recommendations based on the media items common to the user's library, other users' libraries, and radio broadcasts. This approach allows the electronic device to provide recommendations without requiring any monitoring of the user's listening habits or receiving preference information from the user.