Apple is working on a new technology that encodes hyperlinks into an audio stream. This could allow content creators to link to other media, or control a device’s user interface, with a song or podcast.
Cupertino’s invention for “audio hyperlinking” is similar to the “enhanced podcast” feature already being used by some content providers. In this case, the hyperlinks are added to the source audio stream rather than to a file.
As noted in the patent filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:
For example, many podcast programs identify other resources that might be of interest to the listener, such as other podcasts or web material, there is currently no way for a podcast to provide a hyperlink to such other resources in the audio content of the podcast.
Audio hyperlinks could have a number of uses. These could include pausing the current audio, or taking the listener to another part in the track. It could also open other media or Web content.
In summary, the link would act like a traditional text-based hyperlink, but is encoded in audio data. Samir Gehani is credited as the inventor of this patent, which was first filed in 2012.
Apple’s iOS 7 beta 5 doesn’t include audio hyperlink technology. Perhaps it will arrive in 2014 with iOS 8.