Apple to invite you and your friends to an iPhone-powered silent disco?

Patent filing describes a “coordinated group musical experience” driven by mobile devices

Apple has filed a patent that describes a method of creating, essentially, your very own silent disco using little more than a bunch of iOS devices and some headphones.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a silent disco, it’s where a DJ broadcasts music to a room full of headphone-wearing partygoers. Anyone not wearing a set of cans won’t hear a thing, except perhaps the shuffling of feet as people dance around.

Photo credit: Janusz Kaliszczak

Dancing by myself

Apple’s patent details a system that works slightly differently, because there is no central device acting as the DJ and broadcasting the same tune to every other user. Instead a collection of networked iPhones, iPod Touches or iPads will share tempo information, which means everyone in the group can listen to different music but at (roughly) the same BPM. Apparently, the system will even be able to alter the tempo of a track to make it better match the other songs.  There will be a DJ-type person who sets the tempo by selecting a song, and this role can be rotated around the group.

Yes, it’s a little odd as a concept.

This tempo-sharing will work over Bluetooth, ad hoc Wi-Fi, cellular networks and the Internet, so you don’t all even need to be in the same building, city or even country. It’ll also be contained within a single app.

As with all patent applications, it doesn’t necessarily mean the product is on the way – merely that Apple thinks it’s an idea worth protecting.

[USPTO via Apple Insider]

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