A patent covering the use of a touchscreen universal remote control has been published and the Apple filing suggests that the remote will govern the use of a number of specific products. The patent, uncovered by AppleInsider, specifically mentions the use of a “television, video tape player, video disk player, stereo, home controls, computer MP3 player, computer DVD player”.
While previous patent probes specifically discuss a television product, this one appears to revolve around the creation of a remote for such a device. The patent also makes specific mention of its ability to replace the “table full of remotes” as it puts the user in control of many other devices. 9to5Mac notes that the reference plays specifically into a quote from Steve Jobs from an appearance at All Things D when he was remarking on the current television model (Steve Jobs Talks Television).
The remote intends to incorporate all of your entertainment devices into a single UI and a single remote by creating an “automatic discovery mechanism” which would allow the remote to talk to your devices using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology. The device itself would house the actual graphical representation of its functionality, making the particular UI available to the remote upon connection.
When a user selects an appliance to control at the remote control, the remote control sends a message to the appliance requesting a menu description. In response, the appliance returns the menu description to the remote control. The remote control then displays the menu.
Interestingly, this patent makes no mention of voice control integration, which has been a mainstay of the rumour mill suggesting that Siri will likely be integrated into perhaps many future Apple devices.
Apple certainly won’t be the first company to release a universal remote with a digital interface but do you think they’ll be the first to get it right?