While there are a few companies that have developed a video ringtone app for the iPhone, like iFonetec, Apple thinks that they could do a little better. In a recently discovered Apple patent, we see that Apple is exploring ways of delivering a means for creating video ringtones for telephonic iOS devices. The feature will supposedly alow you to utilize videos from iTunes, iMovie, or even an old DVD or Tivo video that you have hanging around. Apple's patent presents us with many interesting, if not cool twists, to the idea of video ringtones. And knowing Apple, they're likely to deliver something worth using.
Apple Considers Video Ringtones for the iPhone
Apple's patent describes their invention as covering methods and arrangements for automatically modifying a video sequence to present a video ringtone. The method comprises inputting a first video sequence characterized by a sequence of images and inputting at least one audio signal. Both the video sequence and audio signal are retrieved based on an association with a caller. When a call is received from the caller, a second video sequence is output comprising the images that make up the first video sequence but having a modified playback sequence or frame rate. The second video sequence is generated by analyzing the audio signal for selected characteristics and modifying the first video sequence in response to the analysis of the audio signal. In some embodiments the second video sequence is derived based on real time analysis of the audio signal when the call is received.
The video sequence and audio signal that is associated with the caller are one of a plurality of video sequences or audio signals that are associated with a caller. In some cases one video sequence or audio signal could be chosen by the user while in other cases it could be randomly chosen.
Apple's patent figure 5 shows how the system brings video and audio together to create a video ringtone. FIG. 7 illustrates one of the methods for generating a ringtone in response to an incoming call.
Video Ringtone Option: 2D, 3D Graphics
Being Apple, they will add feature options that no one is offering today like 3D graphic capabilities to a video ringtone. Apple states that due to the fact that 2-D and 3-D computer graphics programs continuously display a composite image rather than a series of sequential frames, their inventive system will operate in a different manner when applied to such a program.
For example, the motion of each displayed object may be individually controlled. Thus, the control of individual components may correspond to different characteristics. In an embodiment, a first object may be altered by a first characteristic and a second object may be altered by a second characteristic. For example, the first object may appear to bounce in response to the first characteristic and the second object may be enlarged in response to the second characteristic. Any number of visual effects may be applied to the 2-D or 3-D objects including movement, appearance, camera angle, shape, etc.
Video Ringtone Option: Layered Composite
In another embodiment, the visual display may be a layered composite of visual frames. Each of the frame layers may contain a separate object and each layer may be individually manipulated in response to detecting of a characteristic. By varying only some of the frames of the composite, only objects illustrated in the layers are visually altered. For example, the first layer may include a background of mountains, a second layer may include trees and a lake, a third layer may include an airplane and the fourth layer may include a car. The mountain layer may be altered by a bass audio signal and the trees and lake layer may be altered by a mid frequency audio signal. The airplane layer maybe altered by a high frequency audio signal and the car layer may be altered by a discrete audio signature. The visual effect would show individual objects appearing to be independently altered by different characteristics.
Other Possible Noteworthy Features
Another feature describes the ability to alter the frame rate so that the display rate is higher or lower than the normal 30 frames/second. The frame rate will be able to be adjusted up to 150 fps.
Another feature is allowing the user to create a customized signal or sound within an audio track by altering specific characters such as tempo, tone, beat, pitch, duration, carrier frequency, scale or volume. The user could also adjust the amplitudes of specific sound frequencies and could shift the pitch of the audio.
Another feature will allow you to simply tie one of your iPhoto still photos to a favorite tune.
Another feature is that someone calling you actually sends their own video ringtone to you. If the tune or video came from iTunes, the receiver will be able to gather that "seed" information so that they could later check out the tune or video. I guess if everyone had their own video ringtone signature, you wouldn't have to create more than a few which would be a better way of doing it. But the patent is a little weak on detailing that feature.
It could also be another way of promoting new tunes amongst friends if they're tied into iTunes. By quickly changing your ringtone to reflect a great new tune you just purchased from iTunes, it's a way of spreading the news in a creative way by giving your friends a short clip and the associated "seed" information about the video ringtone.
Apple's patent which was released in the past few weeks, was originally filed in Q3 2010. Apple's Brian McKnight and Michael Neuman are credited as the inventors of this patent.
Whether Apple will decide to deliver an independent app or work with existing video ringtone developers to advance their features is unknown at this time.
If you missed our other weekend report, check it out: Apple's GarageBand Patent Surfaces for iPad, the iPhone & More
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for further details. Patents shouldn't be digested as rumors or fast-tracked according to rumor time tables. Apple patents represent true research that could lead to future products and should be understood in that light. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
Apple Antenna-Logo for the iMac Patent
As an added news entry, the second half of Apple's antenna-logo patent surfaced this week in context with the iMac as noted in the patent graphic below. For more info, see patent application 20110050508.
Now here's something really cool and refreshing to think about: Apple Water
Community Sites Covering our Original Report
MacSurfer, Market Watch (CBS), Apple Investor News, Cliqz, UpgradeOSX, tweetmeme, MacTech, iPhone Micropage, iPhone World Canada, iPhoneItalia Italy, iSpazio Italy, Apple HD Blog Italy, Macmagazine Brazil, TUAW, iPhone Hellas Greece, One More Thing Netherlands, iPhone2Die4, xSellize, IntoMobile, Mela Blog Italy, Wayerless Spain, iPhoneguide Denmark, iPhone Download Blog, Spirit Jailbreak, SlashGear, Apple Sheet, IphoneNews Italy, iPhon France, iPhoneSoft France, World is Small France, and more.