A patent application published by the US Patent and Trademark Office showed that Apple is working on a universal touchscreen remote capable of controlling multiple devices, shedding lights on the company’s much-anticipated plan on a smart TV product.
The patent, titled “Apparatus and Method to Facilitate Universal Remote Control” was filed Sep 30, 2011, said that the remote will be capable of controlling multiple devices including “a television, a video tape player, a video disk player, stereo, a home control system or a computer system”, reported Xinhua.
“Manufacturers have created so-called universal remote controls, which can be trained to mimic several remote controls, and can then control each appliance for which they have been trained. While universal remote controls attempt to address the problem of multiple remote controls, these devices are even more complex to operate, further confusing the user,” said the filing.
According to the filing, Apple’s universal remote control will include a touchscreen which functions as the display screen and the user input mechanism and a discovery mechanism that would discover available appliances to control.
AppleInsider, a technology news site focusing on Apple, first discovered the filing. It said that the application is particularly noteworthy as rumours of a full-fledged Apple TV set have gained considerable steam since the release of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs late last year.
In the book, the late Apple co-founder told his biographer that he had “cracked” the concept for a TV set with “the simplest user interface you could imagine”.