updated 03:50 pm EDT, Tue August 27, 2013
Remote app could control AV gear, smart home electronics
Apple has won a pair of new US patents, the most important of which covers a theoretical universal remote app for the iPhone. The invention is credited to the creator of the iTunes Remote app for iOS, Alan Cannistraro. Unlike that app however, the patented concept -- originally submitted five years ago -- would allow a person to control multiple AV devices along with smart home electronics such as lights and window shades. Multiple wireless standards could be supported, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
After configuring available hardware, a person could choose to create custom "scenes," meaning presets in which several devices are adjusted automatically. A "movie" scene might turn on a TV, receiver, and speakers, for example, while simultaneously dimming the lighting. The app could moreover track scene usage, making recommendations on ones to pick based on when a person usually switches to a particular mode. Music and videos, meanwhile, could be started in one part of a house and then continued in another.
The other patent appears to be inspired by "silent discos," in which a group of people get together for a concert that can only be heard through headphones. In Apple's idea, an iOS device could be used by a "roving DJ" to broadcast via local or Internet connections. Unusually, people wouldn't necessarily have to be listening to the same song, just something with the same BPM ratio.
Listeners could have their own avatars and extra sharable information. Other options might include a session timer, dynamic tempo control, and the ability to have Turntable.fm-style rotating DJs.