The basic idea is that Apple would store items that a user might purchase on the device alongside a purchase credit that was setup when the user had Internet access. If a user wanted to purchase an item the cost would be deducted from the prepaid credit and the purchase would be synced when Internet access returns.
A user can store some or all of the media items from the user's media library (e.g., media items owned by the user) on a device for playback. In some cases, a user may wish to add new media items to the library, for example from an online media store. When the device is not connected to the store, however, the user may not be able to perform a transaction to purchase new media items, nor download or access the media items from the store. To enable offline purchases of media, the electronic device can store locally for future use one or more recommended media items received from the store when a connection with the store is available. Access to the recommended media items can be restricted, so that the user cannot consume the media items without first purchasing them.
To complete a media item purchase without sending transaction information to the media store, the electronic device can store pre-paid credits locally on the device. The pre-paid credits can be purchased in advance, for example when the device is connected to the store. In response to a user request to purchase a particular recommended media item, the electronic device can deduct the cost of the recommended media item from the locally stored credit, and remove the access restrictions of the device. The amount of credit remaining can be communicated to the store or to a host device (e.g., used to manage the user's media library) when communications become available.
The purchased recommended media item can be transferred to the user's media library at any suitable time. For example, the electronic device can provide a copy of the media item to the user's library. As another example, the host device can request and receive the media item from the store upon providing transaction information describing the on-device credit-based transaction. The electronic device can store any suitable amount of pre-paid credit, including for example a default or threshold amount. The purchases made using pre-paid credit can be associated with a user's account held by the media store when communications are re-established to ensure that the user's account remains accurate and up to date.
The patent was filed January 19, 2010 and published today.
Read More [via AppleInsider]