Will Zune Acquire Auto Download Magic?
Here's how ZDNet's estimable Russell Shaw interprets the patent app: "Say you have five Dave Matthews Band tracks already stored on your Zune. Dave puts out some new tracks. A music service could flag a track for promotion, and that track could automatically be pushed down to a Zune--or your PC media library--in much the same way Windows Updates are pushed through to users. With specific regard to direct downloads to Zune, this might be accomplished by equipping future Zunes with Wi-Fi hotspot or even phone capabilities that would sniff for signals from music content providers that new tracks presumably of interest to the user are available for retrieval."
According to Shaw, the content arbiter may be a music service, radio station, or other company designated by the user. The player may also analyze its existing contents to find more stuff the user would like. See patent application.
Perhaps we'll find out more on October 16 when new Zunes arrive. They will include 4GB, 8GB, and 80GB versions according to ZuneScene--but no 160GB to match the larger iPod classic.