Did Disney Out the Wireless iPod?

AppleInsider (a daily visit for me) seems to have gotten a bit ahead of itself with this article suggesting that a Disney patent filing heralds a wireless iPod from Apple:

Built-in wireless connectivity is an inevitable feature in the evolution of Apple Computer's iPod digital media players, and it appears that Walt Disney Co. could be ready and waiting to deliver some of its live ESPN content when the first wireless models arrive.

In a patent filing made last Nov. and published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, the entertainment conglomerate detailed plans for a ESPN-branded cell phone user interface that allows users to wirelessly receive ESPN video content, scores and other sports-related information in realtime.

However, it notes that the systems and methods described in the filing, titled "Graphical user interface for electronic devices," may also be used with electronic devices configured using a different hardware makeup.

"For example," the company wrote, "systems and methods of the present disclosure may be applied to other mobile electronic devices, such as PDAs, pagers, etc., and to other handheld electronic devices, such as, e.g., the iPod digital music player (available from Apple Computer, Inc.)."

Whoa there, Trigger! Not so fast. The way I read the filing, it specifically groups the "different hardware" devices upon which this wireless widget could operate into two types: "mobile," and "handheld." What's the difference? Take a look at the examples.

The mobile category includes pagers and PDAs. Now, who knows what they mean by "PDAs" but pagers are definitely mobile devices connected to a network. They clearly distinguish this class of devices from merely handheld things, like the iPod. An iPod is only mobile in the sense that you can put it in your pocket, but it's tethered to a computer in order to be useful.

Now, do I think we'll see iPods with wireless capabilities? Probably. [Do I ask myself questions and answer them? Yes.] I haven't got any insight into whether that means an iPhone, or Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth for iPods, or both, but this filing doesn't look like evidence of anything. So, smoke perhaps, but no fire here.


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