• iTunes kiosks are coming
  • iTunes kiosks are coming
    Written by battye
    Sun May 10, 2009 3:55 am

    The iPod Touch already has Wi-Fi compatibility and access to the iTunes store, the iPhone can access the iTunes store from anywhere thanks to its unbeatable combination of 3G, EDGE and Wi-Fi. But what about those using other iPod variants or a laptop? Well, it looks like Apple will be catering for these people too after a 2007 patent they filed has revealed they are looking into "iTunes kiosks" that would allow people to download music and video on the go.

    If they go ahead, and it is hard to imagine them not to with such huge revenue potential, the kiosks would wirelessly connect to devices. Wi-Fi probably would not be used however, because of the security risks and overloading on the network. Physical dock connecters would not be viable as they might be prone to damage if used excessively.

    In the patent Apple say that this system would be useful in areas such as airports, hotels, shopping malls and other areas with large movements of people. Clearly, setting up iTunes kiosks in these places would be hugely successful - particularly popular among people that are travelling. Even for people with the iPod Touch or iPhone now, there are still advantages in using a real computer to download media, as downloading many individual songs on such a small device could become tiresome (although for just 1 or 2 songs, through the handset is extremely efficient).

    Interestingly, they say that a kiosk could be located in a remote area where traditional means of obtaining media are not possible (through the 3G network on the iPhone for example) - essentially meaning that kiosks could be a good alternative to the internet in third world countries or outback areas with no network coverage.

    The one major flaw with this is how would the kiosk system work with older iPods? Or computers without wireless chips? Obviously the iPod Touch and iPhone have no problem on the hardware side of things due to their Wi-Fi and bluetooth capabilities. But what about the iPod Nano - or the Shuffle? Unless Apple intends to phase out the current models and replace them with wireless-capable devices, it would seem that any kiosks opening in the near future would at least need the option to use a dock connecter. Likewise, USB connections to computers would seem necessary.

    This is no doubt a very interesting path for Apple to take, and it would not be in the least surprising if we started to see these kiosks being trialed at Apple's retail stores (Apple Store's) very soon, followed by airports and other public places.
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