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.