An interesting patent grant surfaced in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s database this morning. Building upon a number of previously patented inventions, this latest filing describes an enhanced remote control that could include a touch-sensitive surface to control one or more on-screen objects…
Jack Purcher explains over at his Patently Apple blog that so-called wand may include a motion detection component to provide outputs reflecting its movements.
As another example, the wand may include an input mechanism for receiving inputs from the user, and operative to provide the received inputs to the electronic device.
The input mechanism may include any suitable input mechanism, including for example an input mechanism operative to detect movements of a user’s finger (e.g., a touch screen, touchpad or touch strip).
Theoretically speaking, you’d slide your finger across the remote and your Apple TV would zoom in on the displayed object.
And what happens if several objects are displayed and zoomed?
Easy, your Apple TV could just change the position of the objects on the screen to maintain their ordering.
This patent joins 21 newly granted patents issued today, covering everything from industrial design for the iMac, Cinema Display and MacBook Air to electromagnetic induction that might help extend battery life on iOS devices.
Over the years, Apple filed for a bunch of patents covering various futuristic aspects of the Apple TV remote.
For example, back in March a patent titled “Configurable Remote Control” surfaced, highlighting methods of using your iPhone as a self-programming universal TV remote.
And in January, another patent outlined a universal touch screen controller capable of controlling not only television sets, but a range of other consumer electronics devices.
And in December of 2010, an Apple patent filing detailed a 3D wand of sorts, based on use magnetic compass and a bunch of other sensors for precise 3D positioning and remote control.
As talk of an Apple-branded television begins to pick up considerable steam, these patents could be indicative of Apple’s plans for this space, even if most inventions never make it into real products.
Bear in mind some of the patents could simply outlined planned capabilities for Apple’s Remote app, available on iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.
Another proof of a possible Apple Remote makeover: according to Boy Genius Report, a nearly feature-complete version of the software that powers the Apple TV puck will get some love and air time during the WWDC keynote next Monday.
Apparently, a new “control out” API is also in the works so third-parties could make gadgets compatible with devices powered by the new Apple TV software.
By way of this API, the source claimed, any connected components could be controlled from the Apple remote.
Given its simplicity, the current-generation Apple Remote would hardly lend itself well to the new API, meaning a brand new remote control could as well be worked on as we speak.
Or, perhaps these patents are really for a game controller of sorts rather than the good ol’ fashioned television remote?
Graphics maker Nvidia today partnered with peripheral makers Nyko on wireless game controllers for Tegra-optimized Android tablets so who’s to say that an iPad game controller isn’t being worked on in Apple’s labs?