Granted to Apple today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, the patent appropriately named “On-device offline purchases using credits” describes a system of using credits to purchase iTunes content that’s stored on your device but which you don’t already own. The goal is to allow you to unlock and play iTunes songs, videos, and other items without having to be online.
You would first buy credits that you can apply to future offline iTunes purchases. You’d also have a library of items on your mobile device that you don’t actually own but may wish to purchase. These items could include recommendations from iTunes that were downloaded the last time you were online. Since you don’t actually own the items, they remain locked until you pay for them.
Now you’re offline and would like to play one of the recommended and downloaded songs or videos. Since you can’t purchase them directly without an online connection, you would tap into your reserve of prepaid credits to pay for and unlock that item. The whole transaction is thus conducted offline.
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