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Apple exploring Wii-like remote for Apple TV?

updated 12:40 pm EDT, Thu March 12, 2009

Apple remote patent

Apple may have much more complex interactions in mind for future versions of the Apple TV remote, a new patent application suggests. While the current remote is no different from the models used to control Front Row on Macs, a future version may function similarly to the controllers for Nintendo's Wii console, which allow precise pointing and motion-sensing actions. The Apple hardware would rely on IR sensors and/or an accelerometer or gyroscope.

The patent depicts a device which, in navigating menus, could be used to point at items and select them instead of simply cycling through every one. Users might also be able to trigger commands through certain gestures, such as spinning in circles to scroll through CoverFlow. Within the Apple TV's photo browser, images could be zoomed in and out by moving back and forth, or repositioned with twisting motions.

More complex interactions might be possible by using a remote to control an on-screen keyboard, or even operate a desktop-like illustration program. The former would potentially greatly improve the speed of title searches. Some descriptions propose a Dock-like overlay menu triggered with a button, which could be used to more quickly jump between functions.

The patent was originally filed in May of 2008, and is credited to Apple's Nicholas King and Duncan Kerr.

by MacNN Staff



  1. zehspoon1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not just apple tv

    The bottom picture looks like an Adobe Illustrator screen. Interesting.

  1. Hillbilly Geek

    Joined: Dec 1969



    are we looking at the iWee?

  1. tdmaymac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The key...

    This Wii-like controller is what has been needed to fulfill the promise of AppleTV with couch-based navigation of today's web content on a wide-screen TV. I have an Apple TV and Mac Mini in my media room and primarily use the Mini now because of its access to Internet video. Using a wireless mouse and keyboard is still too kludgy for regular consumer adoption but this device will make all the difference, provided the AppleTV is opened up to web access. Note the appearance of the Safari icon in the illustration. It's clear what this is intended to do - bring everything together in one set-top box.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The future....

    You are looking at the future of device navigation begin right here.

  1. snackhound

    Joined: Dec 1969



    can't you do this already?

    not sure about a patch for ATV though

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: the future

    You are looking at the future of device navigation begin right here.

    Um, actually, since they're copying the wii remote design, how can you say it is 'beginning'?

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