Interesting Apple steering wheel remote patent surfaces

PatentlyApple points to a number of newly-granted patents published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office with Apple’s name on them. And out of the 20 or so filings, there’s one particular invention that stands out.

The patent describes an in-vehicle remote control with what appears to be a clickwheel-esque interface. It attaches to the steering wheel and can control an iPod, iPhone or other device. Keep reading for more details…

The remote in the filing is completely wireless, using either bluetooth or an RF frequency transmitter, to communicate with a portable media player. It has a touch-sensitive faceplate, and attaches to a car’s steering wheel via a built-in clamp.

This would allow users to browse content, adjust volume levels and perform other functions without taking their hands off the steering wheel — which is huge in an era where cell phone use while driving is garnering so much attention.

There’s no evidence, however, that Apple has any plans to bring this particular product to market. But if it ever does hit the shelves, you can bet we’ll be among the first to buy one.

What about you? What do you think of Apple’s in-vehicle remote control?