Apple Insider has revealed a patent application that, if granted, could let Apple reduce music library size on mobile devices. The patent describes a system where parts of music files are stored in the iDevice library, while the rest of the song can be transferred from an external source once the song has started playing. Apple could use the cloud to stream the songs.
The company closed a cloud-music licensing deal with EMI yesterday and is currently working on signing similar deals with Universal and Sony. The agreements would allow the company to set up a music streaming service using the content provided by the aforementioned labels.
The infrastructure Apple could use is another matter; the company has enlarged its data centres and allegedly leased an additional third party data centre in California for a seven year period. These data centres could be used to enable content streaming to many users.
Apple currently offers video and music streaming to iDevices via MobileMe iDisk, but the app does not integrate users' iTunes libraries. This patent could let Apple do just that.
The system could be useful if Apple released low-budget iPhones with lower storage capacity. Several sources have already hinted that the company might be working on such devices.