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MacRumors
Jul 19, 2007, 10:24 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

A new patent application (http://blogs.zdnet.com/ip-telephony/?p=2068) describes the possibility of the use of an iPod or iPhone as a media remote control for a home entertainment system.
A portable multimedia player (such as the iPod. manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.) is used to wirelessly access and control a media server (such as a personal computer running iTunes software) that is streaming digital media by way of a wireless interface to a media unit (such as a stereo/speakers in the case of streaming digital audio).
Unique to the devices would be the ability to transfer digital media file metadata - such as song title, author, etc. associated with the music or video.

The patent application was filed in 2005, so represents technology that Apple was working on a couple of years ago.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/07/19/ipod-or-iphone-media-remote-control/)



4np
Jul 19, 2007, 10:28 AM
Sounds like a WiFi iPod? iPhone like / OS X iPods (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/07/11/osx-based-ipods-in-august/)indeed on their way?

quigleybc
Jul 19, 2007, 10:29 AM
an Ipod / remote control..

not bad

just add wi fi, touch screen and all the other goodies of the iPhone minus the phone carrier and it''ll be perfect!

xUKHCx
Jul 19, 2007, 10:39 AM
This just sounds like salling clicker for the iPod/iPhone.

Gymnut
Jul 19, 2007, 10:41 AM
Just release something resembling an iPod already. At this point I'd buy one if all it did was play music, video, and opened the garage door.

ToddW
Jul 19, 2007, 10:46 AM
Just release something resembling an iPod already. At this point I'd buy one if all it did was play music, video, and opened the garage door.

opening the garage door, now that is genius!

Yankees 4 Life
Jul 19, 2007, 10:57 AM
an Ipod / remote control..

not bad

just add wi fi, touch screen and all the other goodies of the iPhone minus the phone carrier and it''ll be perfect!

they wont make it full wi-fi man, get ready to be disappointed. they will make it to share songs over the wi-fi network and probably put an infrared beam in it.

davevad
Jul 19, 2007, 10:57 AM
Would love to see the iPhone and :apple:TV hook up. Really like the idea of being able to read things like show details on the phone, while still watching the selected content on the big screen. Could really add some flair to that 10 foot interface.

QuarterSwede
Jul 19, 2007, 10:57 AM
Quoted for sheer brilliance.

Anyway this just sounds like salling clicker for the iPod/iPhone.
Assuming it would be Wifi and not Bluetooth it would actually work more than 30 ft. (more like 10 ft. in reality) from the unit, like at the other end of the house.

dongmin
Jul 19, 2007, 11:01 AM
Assuming it would be Wifi and not Bluetooth it would actually work more than 30 ft. (more like 10 ft. in reality) from the unit, like at the other end of the house.

http://images.appleinsider.com/apple-wireless-remote-070719-1.gif

Apple is definitely thinking WI-FI, although the patent doesn't necessarily rule out Bluetooth/IR. The biggest desire seems to be to control a media "server", i.e. a Mac, that's streaming to your home stereo/TV.

xUKHCx
Jul 19, 2007, 11:02 AM
Assuming it would be Wifi and not Bluetooth it would actually work more than 30 ft. (more like 10 ft. in reality) from the unit, like at the other end of the house.

Salling clicker is already wifi capable (http://www.salling.com/Clicker/mac/devices.php). It is pretty good to use with airtunes.

Yankees 4 Life
Jul 19, 2007, 11:04 AM
Assuming it would be Wifi and not Bluetooth it would actually work more than 30 ft. (more like 10 ft. in reality) from the unit, like at the other end of the house.

this would sound very nice, but how would the adapter for the television work?

QuarterSwede
Jul 19, 2007, 11:04 AM
Salling clicker is already wifi capable (http://www.salling.com/Clicker/mac/devices.php)
I was thinking that as I was typing it. I use it through Bluetooth on my phone ... well I would if it worked farther away from the unit. Instead, I just lug my 12" PB around and stream it to my receiver using AirTunes (love it).

Hairball
Jul 19, 2007, 11:06 AM
I don't need a remote. A widescreen iPod is all I need:o.

ajhill
Jul 19, 2007, 11:12 AM
I don't need a remote. A widescreen iPod is all I need:o.

A widescreen iPod is certainty before Christmas. :)

So if they put in a remote for the upcoming HD movie rentable Apple Tv devices that would just be a bonus. A universal remote type capability would definitely be a bonus for a widescreen iPod. With OSX on there the possibilities could be endless.

davidmyers
Jul 19, 2007, 11:15 AM
Sort of interesting.

Slowly but surely Apple wants to control all your media centers in your house,
and they aren't doing too badly. I am sort of surprised that technology
has taken this long to produce this much confused hardware in the world,
but that's just the way it is I guess.

I'd be very much in favor of an all-in-one item which is a vid-recorder to disk,
has a advanced dvd (bluray or whatever it turns out to be) slot too,
serves as an airport express, and has an on-screen tv-menu for ordering
off itunes. Honestly you could get darn close to not even needing to
screw around with a cable company at all if they pulled it off. Then
the ipod/phone is the keyboard when it needs to be, and synchs with
the drive of this new device seamlessly. I don't
see why such a thing wouldn't be available within the next three years.
The only trainwreck is if the DRM folks just can't handle some aspects of it.
Increasingly things are slowed down by this, I fear. Witness the internet
radio stream-ripping issue.

QuarterSwede
Jul 19, 2007, 11:18 AM
What I would find doubly cool is if you could stream your tunes from the iPod/iPhone to iTunes (or an AE) and then to a receiver so that you wouldn't have to have your tunes on your computer.

davidmyers
Jul 19, 2007, 11:28 AM
What I would find doubly cool is if you could stream your tunes from the iPod/iPhone to iTunes (or an AE) and then to a receiver so that you wouldn't have to have your tunes on your computer.

Right.
Furthermore, if you *do* want them to be in both places, they're trying
to make things as painless as possible.

I think Apple's other patent application is just as telling as this one: they
are creating a system for synching your whole user folder. This is why
having iphone (and soon ipod too I expect) run osx is so critical (among
other reasons **)... if user folder architecture is fairly standardized,
then you can carry your life with you to home computer, work computer,
laptop, set-top-box drive, and ipod/phone and have the synch software do
"the right thing" at all locations. Making this something other than a pain
in the rear would be very apple-like. Then users who want to run tunes
in whatever place they feel like can run them to the stereo however suits
them. And the way itunes is made, you could, if you wanted, just keep
song metadata and point to the real library on some other mounted device in
the wireless network. The possibilities are wide.



** another reason includes thwarting any competition over what
is the ideal mobile os platform...... if apple wants to lead like a banshee here,
they gotta open up the iphone architecture all the way, though, eventually

trex
Jul 19, 2007, 11:38 AM
Sonos (http://www.sonos.com/) already makes a wireless audio system similar to how I hope an iPod could control a media server to deliver content to a stereo or TV. The nice thing about Sonos' product in contrast to using just a simple iTunes remote (like Salling Clicker) is that there is true multi-zone support. Multiple audio sources can be streamed simultaneously, and each source can stream to multiple destinations.

It would be cool to browse music from a media server on an iPod/iPhone using the standard iTunes interface with Cover Flow and everything. With the improved support for connecting to remote volumes in Leopard, I wonder if this functionality will coincide with Leopard's release.

I noticed the other day a cool project called Telekinesis (http://code.google.com/p/telekinesis/) that enables the iPhone to function as an iTunes remote since the iPhone can't run apps like Salling Clicker.

EagerDragon
Jul 19, 2007, 11:45 AM
opening the garage door, now that is genius!

Have it operate the lights in the driveway, the lock on the door, the house alarm, and give the dog an electric shock if it chews the newspaper or pees on the floor.

OSX iPod and iPhone would likely then have part of iTunes client UI to navegate and make a selection of what to play.

QuarterSwede
Jul 19, 2007, 11:45 AM
Right.
Furthermore, if you *do* want them to be in both places, they're trying
to make things as painless as possible.

I think Apple's other patent application is just as telling as this one: they
are creating a system for synching your whole user folder. This is why
having iphone (and soon ipod too I expect) run osx is so critical (among
other reasons **)... if user folder architecture is fairly standardized,
then you can carry your life with you to home computer, work computer,
laptop, set-top-box drive, and ipod/phone and have the synch software do
"the right thing" at all locations. Making this something other than a pain
in the rear would be very apple-like. Then users who want to run tunes
in whatever place they feel like can run them to the stereo however suits
them. And the way itunes is made, you could, if you wanted, just keep
song metadata and point to the real library on some other mounted device in
the wireless network. The possibilities are wide.



** another reason includes thwarting any competition over what
is the ideal mobile os platform...... if apple wants to lead like a banshee here,
they gotta open up the iphone architecture all the way, though, eventually
Excellent. I hadn't thought of it that way. Sounds like Apple is slowly but surely taking over the media serving industry. ... I'd love to look at their roadmap.

stompy
Jul 19, 2007, 11:49 AM
I noticed the other day a cool project called Telekinesis (http://code.google.com/p/telekinesis/) that enables the iPhone to function as an iTunes remote since the iPhone can't run apps like Salling Clicker.

Has anyone used the latest remote buddy (http://www.iospirit.com/index.php?mode=view&obj_type=infogroup&obj_id=24&o_infogroup_objcode=infogroup-23&o1_infogroup_objcode=html-141&sid=3950286Gc8a7135e4a597de1) on their iPhone? It would be nice to hear some first hand comments.

dicklacara
Jul 19, 2007, 11:49 AM
There are Universal Remotes out there that cost more than an 8 Gig iPhone.

You can google and see... here's one example: link (http://www.surfremotecontrol.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=URC-CC)

So, there is price precedent for devices in the iPod - iPhone range.

I would like to see the iPhone evolve to include truly Universal remote control capability:

1) add programmable IR capability to the iPhone so it can control Apple TV as well as TV, Stereos, etc.

2) add power-line interfaces to apple's plugged-in devices (Computers, Apple TV, iPod Hi-Fi, iPod/iPhone Chargers/Adapters/Docks, etc.). These devices could be part of a power-line network where all devices are monitored and controlled, and intelligent devices can perform the Monitor & Control functions.

3) Offer a new product a mass storage (media) server

The iPhone in your hand could display a custom keyboard for each specific task:

-- channel surfing (volume u/d channel u/d, num key pad)

-- programmable channel switching (Football game 1, Football game 2, etc., volume u/d

-- control of apple TV with on-screen coverflow (iPhone, TV either or both)

-- control of various home theatre components (stereo, speakers, equalizer)

-- control of home security system & monitors

-- control of appliances (Air, Furnace, etc.)

-- surf the TV program guide and schedule PVR recording/playback

-- Purchase & download movies/songs from ITMS

The iPhone could do the same thing for any/all zones/devices you care to set up in your home.

When you are away, you can do all of this from across the world via the iPhone's WiFi/Edge connection.

The Telekenesis iPhone Remote provides proof of concept of much of the above:

While writing this I used my iPhone to send a signal over the internet to my home computer to:

1) Take a picture with the iSight (or other cam) and send it to the iPhone.

2) Control iTunes (volume, select, play/stop, equalizer, etc.) from the iPhone. I couldn't hear the iTunes thru the iPhone, but because I was sitting in front of the Mac, I can tell you that the response to the iPhone Remote is amazing.

3) On the iPhone, display the Mac's desktop and open windows, run apps, logon to web sites... and see this all on the iPhone's screen (over the Internet)

EagerDragon
Jul 19, 2007, 11:50 AM
Right.
Furthermore, if you *do* want them to be in both places, they're trying
to make things as painless as possible.

I think Apple's other patent application is just as telling as this one: they
are creating a system for synching your whole user folder. This is why
having iphone (and soon ipod too I expect) run osx is so critical (among
other reasons **)... if user folder architecture is fairly standardized,
then you can carry your life with you to home computer, work computer,
laptop, set-top-box drive, and ipod/phone and have the synch software do
"the right thing" at all locations. Making this something other than a pain
in the rear would be very apple-like. Then users who want to run tunes
in whatever place they feel like can run them to the stereo however suits
them. And the way itunes is made, you could, if you wanted, just keep
song metadata and point to the real library on some other mounted device in
the wireless network. The possibilities are wide.



** another reason includes thwarting any competition over what
is the ideal mobile os platform...... if apple wants to lead like a banshee here,
they gotta open up the iphone architecture all the way, though, eventually

If you cary a lot of info with you in a device with a radio and or it is lost, Joe Hacker has a lot of your data. Better implement encryption first.

AidenShaw
Jul 19, 2007, 12:01 PM
Have it operate the lights in the driveway, the lock on the door, the house alarm, and give the dog an electric shock if it chews the newspaper or pees on the floor.

Windows Mobile has a builtin IrDA remote control application, or you can get third party applications like Rudeo (http://www.rudeo.com/wmp.htm) that already do most or all of this - including the garage door, locks, lights.

Haven't seen the "dog zapper module" yet though, but if it's Z-Wave or X10 it would work!

davidmyers
Jul 19, 2007, 12:02 PM
If you cary a lot of info with you in a device with a radio and or it is lost, Joe Hacker has a lot of your data. Better implement encryption first.

Agree 100%.

Apple's got ANOTHER (how many does this make?) patent application that is
related to that question- trying to make it so an ipod can't be recharged
under certain circumstances

http://www.darkreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=127450&WT.svl=cmpnews1_1

Marx55
Jul 19, 2007, 12:06 PM
Tons for our University if the iPhone or iPod runs Mac OS X and can be used as a remote control for full native Keynote and PowerPoint presentations. That is, the ultimate ultraportable handheld computer for wireless presentations.

LordJohnWhorfin
Jul 19, 2007, 12:25 PM
Sonos (http://www.sonos.com/) already makes a wireless audio system similar to how I hope an iPod could control a media server to deliver content to a stereo or TV. The nice thing about Sonos' product in contrast to using just a simple iTunes remote (like Salling Clicker) is that there is true multi-zone support. Multiple audio sources can be streamed simultaneously, and each source can stream to multiple destinations.

Sonos is amazing, and very reasonably priced considering the feature set, ease of use and reliability, but if the next iPod is a phoneless iPhone that can control iTunes by WiFi, combined with Airport Express access points it can become a formidable competitor.
Salling Clicker almost does the job, but unfortunately iTunes does not allow its output to be switched by AppleScript, which somewhat limits the functionality.

rbroady
Jul 19, 2007, 12:34 PM
i mentioned this before but can this open up the option of streaming music from your computer to your ipod?

what if this could be done thru wifi from anywhere

jacg
Jul 19, 2007, 12:38 PM
What if they built some sort if IR wand that plugged into an Airport Express or Airport Extreme?

My Airport Express is obviously always near the rest of the AV kit.

Sounds like a cool idea but maybe a bit niche for Apple?

voicegy
Jul 19, 2007, 12:46 PM
The possibilities seem to be endless with remote technology - I just wish that I could find a universal remote that is Wi-Fi, IR AND Radio Signal capable.

I'm stuck with a Bose home system that uses radio signals - nice, because you don't need line of sight. My plasma is, of course, IR. And I have Wi-Fi in the house. One controller for all of that would be outstanding.

In the meantime, I'm very pleased with a little product I found that let's me control the iTunes content on my home computer over WiFi via the iPhone. Pretty sweet!

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=329820

jettredmont
Jul 19, 2007, 12:54 PM
There are Universal Remotes out there that cost more than an 8 Gig iPhone.

You can google and see... here's one example: link (http://www.surfremotecontrol.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=URC-CC)

So, there is price precedent for devices in the iPod - iPhone range.

I would like to see the iPhone evolve to include truly Universal remote control capability:

1) add programmable IR capability to the iPhone so it can control Apple TV as well as TV, Stereos, etc.


While the #1 issue here is lack of PHYSICAL buttons (there are high-end universal remotes with no physical buttons too, but they suck IMHO), and severely small proven market here, this is still an excellent idea. I need to be able to hit the pause and mute buttons without looking at the remote!

HOWEVER, for talking with my other equipment, I'd strongly prefer they use the :apple:TV's USB port to hook up an IR pulse squid (ie, multiple IR transmitters, to be placed in front of your sttereo equipment so they can "see" the IR ports) instead of putting this on the iPhone/iPod. I mean, I don't want to have to be in the same room to control my stereo, and I also don't want to have to hold the iPod and aim at specific equipment for it to work. Plus, this setup would allow extension of different equipment types (RF of course, X10 perhaps) with the change-out of a dongle on the :apple:TV, not a complete iPod/iPhone replacement.

Personally, I own a ~$200 (when bought a few years back; I think I saw it for $89 earlier this year) remote control, which is great. But, still, my wife hates it because the interface to it is very ... ummm ... techy. Also, many of the newer devices we've tried using it with (DirecTV DVR, for instance) include buttons it is incapable of "learning" (and I hadn't spent the extra $75 to get the one with a PC connection because I'm a stingy dumb-ass). You know how irritating it is to use a DVR's menu when the "left" button (and ONLY the "left" button!) doesn't work? It sucks, let me tell you! Were the iPhone/iPod really just a "dumb" front-end to the :apple:TV, all the "learning" would happen there instead, and would be easily upgraded for new devices without having to dump an expensive remote in the landfill.


2) add power-line interfaces to apple's plugged-in devices (Computers, Apple TV, iPod Hi-Fi, iPod/iPhone Chargers/Adapters/Docks, etc.). These devices could be part of a power-line network where all devices are monitored and controlled, and intelligent devices can perform the Monitor & Control functions.


How is this superior to WiFi?

Is there any ongoing development effort on power-line networking?


3) Offer a new product a mass storage (media) server

The iPhone in your hand could display a custom keyboard for each specific task:

[...]



Which is the beauty part of it all. The iPhone just needs a nice AJAX-ish screen displaying what the :apple:TV tells it to, so you'd be able to add new functions here really really easily, and even (should apple chose to do so) allow user customizations (officially or as a hack).


The Telekenesis iPhone Remote provides proof of concept of much of the above:


The primary roadblock there is that Telekenesis is not a "first class" iPhone app. It's got the deck stacked against it. However, I would hope Apple would use it as an idea source for their own implementation.

Cloudsurfer
Jul 19, 2007, 12:59 PM
Why do we keep getting patent applications from years back?

xUKHCx
Jul 19, 2007, 01:02 PM
Why do we keep getting patent applications from years back?

because the patent process is very long and complicated that it takes years.

ricosuave
Jul 19, 2007, 01:18 PM
Has anyone used the latest remote buddy (http://www.iospirit.com/index.php?mode=view&obj_type=infogroup&obj_id=24&o_infogroup_objcode=infogroup-23&o1_infogroup_objcode=html-141&sid=3950286Gc8a7135e4a597de1) on their iPhone? It would be nice to hear some first hand comments.

I've tried it and it works pretty sweet. I can browse all my music on the mac and a click of the screen starts playing your selection. It has a cool monitoring page to see the desktop of your mac. You can click on items on the mac and it even has drag-and-drop capabilities.

If this patent means what I think it means, then I would be able to FINALLY control my :apple:TV with my iPhone anywhere around the house. It is very inconvenient to walk up to the front of the television (and turn it back on) just to make changes in music when my :apple:TV is playing tunes around my multiple room speaker system.

stompy
Jul 19, 2007, 02:05 PM
Has anyone used the latest remote buddy (http://www.iospirit.com/index.php?mode=view&obj_type=infogroup&obj_id=24&o_infogroup_objcode=infogroup-23&o1_infogroup_objcode=html-141&sid=3950286Gc8a7135e4a597de1) on their iPhone? It would be nice to hear some first hand comments.

I've tried it and it works pretty sweet. I can browse all my music on the mac and a click of the screen starts playing your selection. It has a cool monitoring page to see the desktop of your mac. You can click on items on the mac and it even has drag-and-drop capabilities.

If this patent means what I think it means, then I would be able to FINALLY control my :apple:TV with my iPhone anywhere around the house. It is very inconvenient to walk up to the front of the television (and turn it back on) just to make changes in music when my :apple:TV is playing tunes around my multiple room speaker system.

Good to hear, I was amazed to see everything they've done in such a short time. Thanks for the feedback.

mark88
Jul 19, 2007, 02:25 PM
this would sound very nice, but how would the adapter for the television work?

If they build IR units into ipods/iphone then that would work.

mark88
Jul 19, 2007, 02:27 PM
Seems to me apple are going after the Sonos/Squeezebox market.

The big advantages those 2 products have over AppleTV is that they have excellent remote controls, you can control the Squeezebox from any web enabled device, including the iPhone already.

With Apple TV you have to have your TV on for selecting tracks which rather sucks.

twoodcc
Jul 19, 2007, 02:39 PM
seems pretty cool to me

dicklacara
Jul 19, 2007, 03:39 PM
...


How is this superior to WiFi?

Is there any ongoing development effort on power-line networking?



Advantages of power-line networking:

1) you can inexpensively monitor and control devices like appliances, freezers, air conditioners, lights, etc. that do not have WiFi.

2) It will work where/when no WiFi is available... I lose WiFi about twice a week for 15-20 minutes. (I have ATT DSL and Comcast Cable & at times both are unavailable).

Yes, there is ongoing development... there is this little company called Echelon

http://www.echelon.com/

that was founded some years ago by someone named Mike Markkula...

Echelon recently announced an arrangement with McDonalds....

http://www.qsrweb.com/article.php?id=8108&prc=66&page=58

I bought some Echelon stock ELON last August for $8.03...

It closed today at $22.45 (a 179% paper profit)

k2k koos
Jul 19, 2007, 03:52 PM
I wonder how this works in regards to rights etc:

It mentiones "Apple Computer Inc", while the name has been changed to Apple Inc.

How would a name change affect a patent application, or existing patents?
:apple:

Yankees 4 Life
Jul 19, 2007, 04:30 PM
If they build IR units into ipods/iphone then that would work.

i figured thats what they would do... none of this wi-fi crap to change a channel... bad idea in my book...

AidenShaw
Jul 19, 2007, 08:55 PM
I wonder how this works in regards to rights etc:

It mentiones "Apple Computer Inc", while the name has been changed to Apple Inc.

How would a name change affect a patent application, or existing patents?
:apple:

It's not an issue at all.

When one company acquires a second company, the ownership of all the second company's patents transfer to the buyer. (In fact, sometimes the value of the patents is key to the buyer's desire to make the purchase.)

A legal name change for a company would have no affect on the patents owned by that company.

sgljungholm
Jul 20, 2007, 04:17 PM
I had to design this system for someone. It was simply a matter of making my home control pages fit on my iPhone.

888MacDoctor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCZZhDPl4G0

MBHockey
Jul 22, 2007, 06:41 PM
Why do we keep getting patent applications from years back?

The reason is that patent apps are not published for at least 12-18 months from their filing date. So there's a ton of other Apple patent apps floating around the PTO that have been filed up to 18 months ago put not yet published.