updated 10:15 am EST, Thu December 31, 2009
Suggets updated Apple TV
A newly-published patent application may suggest that Apple has been seriously contemplating a major upgrade of the Apple TV. Originally submitted on May 1st of last year, the filing depicts a remote specifically interacting with an updated Apple TV interface. The interface would support commands from a new remote, capable of recognizing motion gestures in addition to regular button presses.
Users could for instance point at menu items, or use different gestures to scroll through content. Positioning would be determined by IR receivers, an accelerometer and/or a gyroscope. Certain implementations might allow rotation commands, or Z-plane interactions, such as zooming in and out by moving a remote forward or backwards. An onscreen keyboard would allow text input by pointing at characters.
Mentioned in the patent are several potential tools within the interface, extending beyond media browsing to include illustration. A photo browser could include special interactions of its own, such as twisting or cropping images.
Apple has filed for multiple remote patents in the past two to three years, frequently concerned with adding some form of motion control. The technology has not been implemented in any Apple product to date, something that may be explained by the latest patent, as the company could be waiting for updated Apple TV internals before introducing new controls. The current set-top is limited to 160GB of storage, and does not support 1080p video, by now an industry standard.