The latest Apple patent may hint at the future of Apple TV.
The patent, which was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office Thursday and surfaced by Apple Insider’s Mikey Campbell, describes an advanced remote control for the Apple TV set-top box, which can read and interpret what’s happening on the screen to enhance the user experience by letting users easily find trivia and facts about what they’re watching, and even allowing them to overlay some of that information on the screen for all viewers to see.
The current Apple TV can be controlled with a physical remote, as well as the free Remote app for iPhone and iPad. But in the new Apple TV scheme, according to the patent, a redesigned Remote application would allow Apple TV users to queue up the next round of content you plan to watch in the background, even as a different program is being displayed on screen.
This proposal would make it easier to enjoy all types of content “binge-style,” since finding the next piece of content wouldn’t disturb what’s actively playing on screen.
The Remote app would look much different, too. According to the patent, the proposed app would be a “size down” version of the Apple TV user interface, complete with all the same options you can access on the current Apple TV: You can see descriptions and ratings of your content, as well as the same purchase and rental options through the iTunes Store.
In all likelihood, iOS users would be able to purchase content from their devices using the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which is one of the keys to Apple’s new payments platform, Apple Pay.
It’s unclear when we might see this new iteration of Apple TV. But according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who spoke about Apple TV last month in an interview with Charlie Rose, “TV is one that we continue to have great interest in.”
“TV is one of those things that is stuck back in the 70s,” he said. “Think about all the things that have changed … and TV almost feels like you’re rewinding the clock, the interface is terrible. It’s awful.”
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