The application, dated 1 September 2006, addresses methods for wireless devices to find and communicate with each other. It covers the wireless transmission and sharing of files such as video, music, games, photos, playlists, maps and slideshows.
The other devices would not even have to be Apple iPods. Apple states transfers would be possible to any PDA, media player or other device with wireless capabilities, according to AppleInsider .
The patent is entitled ' Media Data Exchange, Transfer, or Delivery for Portable Electronic Devices '. It also mentions restrictions for media with 'limited-use rights'. The application states: "as portable electronic devices become more versatile and more interactive, it is advantageous to exchange (send and/or receive) media or other types of data with other electronic devices in a wireless manner."
The media could be transferred to the second device either by a full transfer, making a copy of the file on the new device, or by streaming.
The patent may also give iPod and iPhone users the ability to purchase content from the iTunes Store wherever they are, rather than restricting them to downloads via a Mac or PC. The patent states:
"For example, a recipient could purchase data from a remote server. The remote server would then cause the purchased data to be delivered to the recipient's data device. The purchase can be performed in real-time or can be deferred until a later point in time. Thereafter, the purchased data can be shared from the recipient's data device to another data device."
Rival music player Microsoft Zune , released in November last year, already enables wireless sharing of media between Zune devices. However it looks as if Apple's patent goes even further, enabling almost any file to be shared seamlessly and automatically.