Apple has been filing patents for a number of very innovative concepts. Access of these patents is possible only when US Patents office makes them public. One such patent that has been made public now is ‘Apparatus And Method To Facilitate Universal Remote Control.’ As the name suggests, the patent is about developing a universal remote control that can automatically detect the devices present within it’s range and then can wirelessly get a user interface from these devices to display on a touch-screen.
The details of the patents first deal with the prevalent remotes and state how difficult it is for the users to use different remotes for different devices. The filing states that often, users utilize only a few button on a remote and the rest of the buttons are mere clutter on the device. This clutter can cause confusion for a user to successfully navigate the device.
Moreover, the filing also takes a hit at the prevalent universal remotes, stating that universal remotes are even hard to use, lacking some native controls that are found in device-specific remotes.
It then goes on to present an all new concept of a universal remote. This would be a remote that could automatically detect any devices within it’s range, so that the user doesn’t have to program anything on it for different devices. This remote would have a dynamic touchscreen through which the user will use the controls. In a way, the patent details a all-in-one remote since it could control not only the electronic devices but can also be used to launch iTunes on a Mac and performs a number of other tasks.
Moreover, the devices that the remote connects to will transmit a user interface automatically to this touchscreen remote so that the user will have a dynamic interface, kind of different for each of the devices it connects to. If a device within the remote’s range can’t connect through the remote, the remote will show it by depicting a grey box on the interface.
The patent was originally filed in September, 2011 and it seems to be a part of Apple’s greater plans of bringing Apple TV into the realms of it’s mainstream products and joining all of it’s products somehow through iCloud. A universal remote control like this does neatly fit into this picture.