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Apple Advances Digital Gifting with Personalized Video Messaging Capabilities and Social Media Integration

1. Cover - Apple patent improves digital gifting
On October 24, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their intent to advance digital gifting on iTunes. The new system will provide gift givers with multiple new ways of personalizing their gifts by using video messaging and the ability to send their gifts through various social media sites.

Apple's Patent Background on Gifting


In recent years, electronic devices capable of playing digital media items such as digital eBooks, digital audio files, and digital video files have become common in every household. These devices, which include laptop computers, handheld digital media players, smart phones, and handheld gaming systems, appeal to a wide demographic and are used daily. As a result of the growing popularity these electronic devices, the sales of digital content have also grown dramatically.


With the proliferation of digital content and digital content players, users have begun to expect more out of their digital content. This has created a demand for diverse content such that everyone is able to find some content that appeals to them. For example, digital books on childcare are available for first time mothers and the newest music is available for young adults.


There has also been a demand for new ways to interact with the digital content, thus improving the user experience. For example, some electronic books are interactive, thus allowing a user to interact with the book in a manner that was not possible with a traditional book.


Similarly, some digital songs contain metadata such as the lyrics of the song, thus allowing a user to conveniently gain access to the lyrics when listening to the song.


Other improvements have also included the ability to gift digital content to another. For example, one user can select a song from an online store and gift the song to another user. While there have been many advancements in the use and distribution of digital content, there is still a need for improved techniques for personalizing gifts of digital content.


Apple's Improved Gifting Solution


Apple's invention relates to systems, methods, and non-transitory computer-readable storage media for gifting and personalizing digital media. The digital media includes electronic books (eBooks), audio songs, videos, movies, and other digital media content.


As a user enjoys a digital media item that is being processed by an electronic device, the user can come across a section, segment, or portion of the digital media item that appeals to the user. The appeal can be that the segment touches the user, the segment reminds the user of a past experience, the user associates the segment with another user, etc. Due to the appeal, the user may wish to gift the digital media item to another.


To gift the digital media item, the user can trigger a gifting event by selecting the segment of the digital media item that is appealing and, using a menu or touch interface of an electronic device, select to gift the digital media item to another party. The recipient can be specified using a name, account ID, or other identification.


Triggering of the gifting event can initiate the execution of a process of electronic device that results in the transmission of a notification to an online store that manages digital media libraries belonging to users. In other examples, a gift can be processed directly on the online store. For instance, a user can log into an online store configured to sell and manage digital media items or digital media subscriptions such as iTunes. The user can interface with the online store by using a menu or touch interface on the user's electronic device to select the desired gift for the other party.


Upon receiving the notification that the gifting event has occurred, the online store can personalize a gifted digital media item for the recipient. The personalization can include the segment of the digital media item that appealed to the user.


The user can incorporate the segment of the digital media item as part of a personal message that will be sent to the recipient to notify her of the gift. The user can also incorporate the segment of the digital media item as part of a personal message that is attached with the copy of the digital media item. That attached message can optionally be presented to the recipient before presentation of the copy of the digital media item.


Once the gifted digital media item has been personalized, the recipient can be notified of the available gift. The notification can be transmitted via a message to a device of the recipient, to an email of the recipient, or posted on the recipient's page of a social network website.


The recipient can choose whether to accept, reject, or re-gift the gift. Depending on the recipient's choice, the gift can be added to the recipient's media library, deleted and credited back to the user, or added to a third party's media library. News of the recipient's choice can be broadcasted to multiple services or devices associated with the recipient.


Triggering a Predefined Interaction Event


Apple's patent FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary user interface embodiment for triggering a predefined interaction event. In this example, a listener is playing a song on an iPhone. As shown on the display, the iPhone is presently playing back an audio file by Coldplay titled "Viva La Vida." The display includes hot spot 510 and scrubber bar 520. In one embodiment, a user can touch and hold a spot within the hot spot to trigger a gifting event. Here, the gifting event is triggered at the 2:03 minute mark of the audio file. The point in the audio file in which the user triggers the gifting event (e.g., event mark) can be used by the application to determine which portion or segment of the audio file appeals to the listener.


Assuming that the user decided to trigger the gifting event at the event mark, the audio playback application determines that the segment of the song surrounding the event mark likely appeals to the listener. As a result, the audio playback application selects a segment of the song surrounding the event mark as the portion of the song that the listener is interested in. This segment can be incorporated into the creation of a personal message for the recipient.


Depending on the listener's settings, the selected segment can expand or shrink based on a predefined window. For example, the listener can select to capture 2 seconds of audio surrounding the event mark, 5 seconds of audio surrounding the event mark, or some other predefined period of time surrounding the event mark. In another embodiment, the user can manually select the portion of interest. For example, a listener can select window 525 of scrubber 520 as the segment of the song that is appealing.


2. Apple tries to improve personalized digital gifting in new patent filing

The Gifting Menu


Apple states that after the segment of the song that appeals to the listener has been determined, a listener can complete the gifting process by selecting one or more gifting options under menu 530. The options can specify how the gifted audio file shall be personalized, the notification that will be sent to the recipient, the contents of a dedication, and others. For example, the audio file can be personalized for another listener by adding a personal message in the song or in the notification that goes out to the recipient.


In other examples, the listener can complete the gifting process by using touch gestures and pop-up menus to set the parameters of the gift without having to interact with the menu. In yet other examples, this method for triggering a predefined interaction event can be applied to other types of digital media, such as video and iBooks.


Personalizing Your Gift


In Apple's patent FIG. 6 noted below we see an illustrated user interface embodiment example for personalizing a digital media item. As shown here, an iPad is displaying a fillable form for gifting a digital media item on the display. The iPad includes four input/output components: camera 610, speaker 620, microphone 630 and the display 640. In other examples, the iPad can have more or fewer components.


After a determination is made that the user would like to gift a copy of a digital media item to another, the iPad (or any iDevice) can display a fillable form which can present one or more options configured for personalizing or setting up the gift.


The fillable form can also include field 642 for specifying the section of digital media item that appeals to the gifter. The field can be populated with a variety of data depending on the digital media item being gifted. In essence, the field can include any data that is part of the digital media item such as with a video, audio clip, or text when the digital media item is a digital textbook containing video, audio clips and text. In some examples, the field can be automatically populated with a section of the digital media item selected by the user during the gifting process.


Populating a personal message: The personal message can part of the notification for the recipient. The personal message can also be used to personalize the copy of the digital media item. Depending upon the implementation details, the personal message can incorporate the section of digital media item 642 that appealed to the gifter.


Populating a dedication note: A dedication note can be a dedication that is presented to the user whenever a digital media item is accessed. The dedication note can be a note, video, or other digital content generated by the gifter. The dedication note can also include the section of digital media item that the gifter found appealing.


Populating user created notes: Notes created by the user can be part of the user's digital media item. For example, a user can create notes, highlights, and bookmarks in an eBook, collectively known as the user created notes. These user created notes can be created by the user to further the user's understanding or appreciation of the eBook. If the user chooses to gift a copy of this eBook to another, the user can optionally also include some of or all of the user created notes with the gifted eBook.


3. Apple patent figs 6 and 7

Populating a scheduled delivery: The gifted digital media item can be delivered to the recipient depending on a delivery schedule. If desirable, a user can populate a delivery schedule option of the fillable form and specify when the gifted digital media item is to be delivered. For example, a mother may wish to deliver a music album to her son on his birthday. The mother can populate optional field 646 with her son's birthdate as the delivery date to ensure that the music album will be received by the son on his birthday, rather than the day before his birthday or the day after his birthday. The scheduled delivery date can control the date (and time) that the digital media item is associated with the recipient's user account or alternatively control the date (and time) that a notification is send to the recipient to notify the recipient of the gift.


Creating a Video Message to Accompany the Gift


Apple states that in some examples, the camera 610 and speaker 630 can be used, together or independently, to capture digital data to populate one or more fields of the fillable form. For example, a user can create and utilize the camera and microphone to record a dedication video by speaking into the camera. The user can review the video and If the video is approved by the user, then the user can populate the video into the dedication note.


Whenever the recipient opens the digital media item, the dedication video will be presented to the recipient before the recipient gains access to the contents of the digital media item. The dedication video can be toggled on and off by the recipient.


The Dedication Page


In Apple's patent FIG. 7 noted above we see an illustrated exemplary dedication page. In this example, the iPad has downloaded a gifted digital media item and has selected the digital media item for playback. Before playback of the gifted digital media item begins, the dedication page is presented to the user.


The dedication page can include a dedication note and section of s digital media item. The dedication note can be a personal message that the gifter has prepared specifically for the recipient. For example, the dedication page can include a dedication note which states "When I saw this baby panda, I thought of you!"


The dedication note can be text, an image, an audio recording, a video recording, or any combination of the above. If the dedication note includes audio, the audio is presented to the user via the speaker. For example, the section can include an image of a baby panda eating. Once the dedication page has finished presentation to the user, the user can gain access to the digital media item. In yet other examples, no notification is sent and the recipient is simply notified of the available gift when the recipient logs into the online store.


Notification UI Examples Including Social Media


In the three Apple patent figures noted below you could see examples of possible future notification user interfaces. The one worth noting is that of patent FIG. 10 which covers social media.


In Apple's patent FIG. 10 we're able to see an exemplary notification system illustration. The system is a notification system configured to inform a recipient of a gifted digital media item. The recipient can receive a notification of the gifted digital media item through a post on a web-based social network, an RSS feed, or other web publishing/social networking services like Twitter, Facebook or others.


4. Apple patent figs 8, 9 and 10 

Patent Credits


Apple credits Casey Dougherty and Melissa Breglio as the inventors of patent application 20130282514 which was originally filed in Q2 2012.


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Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications with associated graphics 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 full and accurate details. Revelations found in patent applications shouldn't be interpreted as rumor or fast-tracked according to rumor timetables. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.


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