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Apple Describes New QuickTime Player Features with a Twist

A1 - cover - Apple Inc - possible new QT UI 
On May 27, 2010, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's QuickTime Player interface. The new player will offer new features like skip-over content, restart a scene, return to a critical point and recap. The new interface will also contain an optional secondary window that will offer closed-captioning text and more. Yet there could be a twist to the new QuickTime player when used in conjunction with a web browser on a computer or your internet connected television. Today, we could go to Apple's Movie Trailer site and review any number of great films that are on tap for release. In the future, it appears that you'll be able to go from watching a trailer to actually watching a film right from your browser without iTunes. That concept holds a lot of potential and it might be signaling that Apple is thinking beyond Apple TV, the device. Time will tell.


Exemplary Multimedia System Overview

Apple's patent FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary system 1000 which comprises of a computer 1010, and/or a television or other display device 1020 connected to a receiver or other media device 1021, both of which may further be connected to a network 10 (e.g., Wide Area Network (WAN), Metropolitan Area Network (MAN), or Local Area Network (LAN)) over a wired (e.g., TCP/IP over Ethernet, IEEE 802.3) or wireless (e.g., WiFi (802.11), GSM, GPRS, W-CDMA, EDGE, or the like) communications protocol/layer.

The network 10 may further be connected to one or more servers 1030 with access to one or more media storage devices (e.g., storage servers, databases, or the like). The servers may receive requests over the network to retrieve and transmit one or more media files/broadcasts that may contain media content (e.g., movies/videos, live/recorded television (TV) programming, pictures, music, or the like).

Alternatively, the computers and/or receivers or other media devices may load media files/broadcasts locally from storage (e.g., hard drive, flash drive, CD-ROM/RW, tape drive, solid state memory, or the like), or via a connection to one or more other computers or servers (e.g., remotely). The active content 1002 window of an exemplary media player may display the content of a media file/broadcast, with corresponding descriptive information 1004 by invoking a recapping feature.

A2 -Apple Inc, Exemplary Multimedia System Overview 

Is this a New QuickTime Media Interface Concept?

Apple's patent FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a media player user interface that comprises an active content 2002 window and a subset of media navigation features 2003 which includes a play button, a stop button, a pause button, a reverse play with acceleration button (e.g., rewind), and a forward play with acceleration button (e.g., fast forward). The media player may also incorporate other media navigation features such as a back feature, a restart scene feature, a return to threshold feature, and/or a return to critical point feature.

A3 - Apple Inc - possible new QuickTime UI concept 

In Apple's patent FIG. 3 we see an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of a media player user interface implementing recapping with descriptive information. An exemplary instance of the media player user interface 3001 comprises an active content 3002 window, a subset of media navigation features 3003, and a descriptive information component 3004.

The contents of a loaded media file/broadcast being played by the media player 1001 may be displayed via the screen of the computer 1010 or the TV 1020 or other display device. The control functions and features of the media player may further be used to pause the playing of media file content, skip-over content of the media file, reverse-play content of the media file, and/or recap earlier media content.

Recapping Feature

In some embodiments, the media player may include a feature for recapping earlier media content according to a recapping control variable. The recapping control variable may be used by the feature for recapping earlier media content in order to determine which earlier media content to recap. The recapping control variable may comprise an earlier time in the media content, a threshold point in the media content, an earlier/specific scene in the media content, and/or a critical point in the media content (e.g., narration, theme, climax, ending). The exemplary media player also presents the played content and descriptive text (or other information) for the recapped content 1004 being played.

In some embodiments, the recapping of earlier media content feature includes displaying descriptive information related to the recapped media content 3004. For example, by activating/invoking a media navigation feature such as the back button or the reverse play with acceleration button of the subset of media navigation features 3003, closed-captioning text, other descriptive text, an image, audio, or a combination of any of the foregoing may be displayed in the descriptive information 3004 component.

Apple credits Windy Chien, Gary Stewart and Robert Kondrk as the inventors of patent application 20100132005, originally filed in Q4 2008.

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