Apple Researching Methods for 'Pushing' User Interfaces to Accessories from Media Devices

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In a patent application filed in May 2008 and published today, Apple discloses that it has been researching methods to allow media devices such as the iPod to "push" their graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to accessory devices for the purposes of controlling the media devices remotely. In pursuing this technology, Apple notes that while remote control accessories for media devices are common, the interfaces are generated by the accessory itself, leading to incomplete functionality and varying experiences when multiple devices are used with a single accessory or a single device is used with multiple accessories.
But existing remote GUIs are defined and controlled by the remote control device, and consequently, they may bear little resemblance to a GUI supplied by the portable media device itself Certain functions available on the portable media device (such as browsing or searching a database, adjusting playback settings, etc.) may be unavailable or difficult to find. Thus, a user may not be able to perform desired functions. Further, GUIs provided for the same portable media device by different remote control devices might be quite different, and the user who connects a portable media device to different accessories with remote control may find the inconsistencies frustrating.
As a response to these issues, Apple proposes methods for media devices to "push" their own GUIs to accessory devices, allowing for full functionality and a consistent user experience across compatible devices and accessories.
The portable media device can provide the accessory with an image to be displayed on the video screen; the image can include various user interface elements that can resemble or replicate a "native" GUI provided directly on the portable media device. The accessory can send information to the portable media device indicative of a user action taken in response to the displayed image; such information can indicate, for example, that a particular button was pressed or that a particular portion of a touch-sensitive display screen was touched by the user. The portable media device can process this input to identify the action requested by the user and take the appropriate action. The action may include providing to the accessory an updated GUI image to be displayed, where the updated GUI image reflects the user action.
The lead inventor on the patent application is William Bull, former iPod User Interface manager at Apple and currently Senior Director of Mobile User Experience at Yahoo. Also among the inventors is former Apple executive Tony Fadell, the "father of the iPod".

Article Link: Apple Researching Methods for 'Pushing' User Interfaces to Accessories from Media Devices
 

zombitronic

macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2007
1,115
6
Win.

If I can use my iPhone to easily launch and control Front Row on my Mac, I'll be happy.
 

zombitronic

macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2007
1,115
6
Fail. The point of the fatty is the clickwheel. Otherwise, you get an Touch.
This doesn't indicate a finished product. In many patents, Apple simply uses a classic iPod to suggest a mobile device. They don't want to lay out their exact plans for competitors to see.
 

gmeddles

macrumors member
Sep 28, 2007
42
0
It's sad that this is considered novel with VNC, remote desktop, etc. as obvious prior art.
 

zombitronic

macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2007
1,115
6
It's sad that this is considered novel with VNC, remote desktop, etc. as obvious prior art.
I assume this is more involved than just VNC. The image shows two similar but distinct interface layouts.

I think the actual interface would be created on each device separately while navigational and certain graphical information will be shared. This seems like the best way to do this with the least amount of overhead.

If anything, I could see this as an improvement to the Remote app.
 

kiljoy616

macrumors 68000
Apr 17, 2008
1,795
0
USA
universal remote

Tell me that apple wants to get into the remote control also business, because we could really use something that actually works across the board.

Dam I still nave not found one that works as advertised, though Logitech has come close. :rolleyes:
 

BJMRamage

macrumors 68020
Oct 2, 2007
2,464
884
I like this idea. I considered Car ipod hook-ups or TV hook-ups with an older ipod and always had to look over the navigation they used to see how close it was...the ease of het ipod interface is great.

hope this comses to fruition soon (er than the tablet)....unless this is for the tablet??
 

knewsom

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2005
949
0
well, not EXACTLY what I was looking for... What I'd like to see is devices that use the iPod and iPhone and DONT TAKE OVER CONTROL. I'm really sick of unplugging my iPhone whenever I want to change what I'm listening to in my car, and I don't exactly want to use the onboard D to A converter in the iphone either, which ain't so good, ruling out the notion of the headphone jack. :mad:
 

Michael73

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2007
1,081
39
Maybe I'm thinking along different lines, but this sounds like a huge win for anyone with a home theatre set up. I have 4 remotes and soon a 5th: AT&T U-Verse, Samsung TV, Yamaha Receiver, DVD/VCR Recorder and I'm thinking about a :apple:TV for the holidays. I can't use a universal like a Harmony because there are specific buttons on each remote that either don't exist on the Harmony or that I'd need to train for each remote which is a major pain.

If apple created a touch screen device that projected each remote's GUI or buttons then I could just use it rather than have a "Remote Caddy" that sits next to my couch. Knowing Apple, setting up something like this could be as simple as connecting the device to a wireless network, entering the manufacturer of the device and model number and it would automatically download a visual representation of the remote. SWEET!
 

pmjoe

macrumors 6502
Mar 27, 2009
461
31
Patent reform now! Please, please, please! I'm tired of my tax dollars going to support these junk patents / patent applications.
 

The Norman

macrumors member
Jun 10, 2009
85
0
Finally! This is HUGE

This should have happened years ago. For the simple reason of driver safety. 90% of my music listening happens in my automobile. I dare assume many of you have a similar experience. The current iPod functionality in car units is a joke with the exception of a privileged few elite systems. Some even mod AppleTVs or Mac minis in their cars. This is another realm that Apple needs to dominate. I am very hopeful that they are years ahead of me on this. Wi-fi updates in the garage, etc... Please just hurry, Apple. Lives may actually be depending on this one.
 

!¡ V ¡!

macrumors 6502a
Jun 21, 2007
850
0
Fail. The point of the fatty is the clickwheel. Otherwise, you get a Touch.
Ah, you seem to have missed the point of this concept. It is to allow any :apple:Mobile device (iPod/iPhone product) for now to push its UI onto a 3rd parties product to resemble the same UI as displayed on your :apple: device.

It has nothing to do with controlling the "fatty" iPod with click wheel via a touch screen. :)

I see this a good thing for consumers, however it will mean a licensing issue with 3rd party hardware companies products. Though :apple: has been pushing this "Made for iPod or iPhone" label, so not much change. Cheaper for 3rd parties not to produce they own UI. :p
 

Rot'nApple

macrumors 65816
Dec 27, 2006
1,151
0
I DID build that!
Win.

If I can use my iPhone to easily launch and control Front Row on my Mac, I'll be happy.
The ULTIMATE REMOTE CONTROL! :D

I can see where Apple is coming from. Steve talked about why the iPhone lacked physical buttons because what if something were added in the future, what are you going to do to an old device? Add a button?

But imagine if your iPod Touch can interface with future tv's, or vcr's, or dvd's, or cable box, or satellite box, or blu-ray device, or stereo systems and have it so it could allow those future products to send "their" GUI interface of the remote control for that product to the iPod Touch or iPhone, etc. so you have at your fingertips all the controls that the manufacturer has for their specific product versus the buttons one might find on a universal remote.

I mean, how many times has this happened. You read your DVD manual and the steps listed call for you to hit the "program" button, as an example. Now you look at your Universal remote because the remote that came with the product crapped out ages ago and you find there is no "program" button on it! Well which button would you use or do you lose that functionality of your device.

But if future vcr's, dvd's, tv's, stereo's, blu-ray's etc. just "communicate signals" with your iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple Tablet or some new Apple Remote or some other third party touchscreen like an iPhone type or dare I say it, Zune type device, then all you will ever need is one remote! AND as a plus, for it being GUI, the little informative image on the button will never fade as they do from today's products because of frequent use.

If this were available today, I could of gotten rid of the three remotes sitting on my coffee table next to my recliner! And that's a good thing! ;)
 

Hattig

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2003
1,432
50
London, UK
This is nothing new. User interfaces defined semantically by the remote device that is being controlled aren't new. What's important is specifying the protocol and data formats, in this case targetted for media playback on the remote device.

Effectively the remote device provides metadata about its media library, either up front or piecemeal as required (as remote controls with screens probably don't have much memory). So the remote control could ask the device "please give me the data for music/album/xyz (previously provided to remote control)", and then the returned data has all the track metadata, which the remote control displays according to its native look and feel. The remote device supports full media control actions from the remote control, so you can "play(song5)", "startFFW()", "pause()", etc.

Hopefully it has been done in a very generic fashion so it becomes a decent de-facto industry standard instead of a means for Apple to bash other companies over the head with - "oh, license our bluetooth/wifi/irda protocol, and you can't use it for your own devices, only for iPods, hahahaha".
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,617
438
Redondo Beach, California
It's sad that this is considered novel with VNC, remote desktop, etc. as obvious prior art.
The most obvious is the web server. If the device were a web server and the remove a browser. X11 is another example of this idea done 25 years ago. Back in the 80's I was "pushing" graphical interface to remote displays across a network. We were using the idea in some military messaging systems. We actually used a "hacked" Macintosh "all in one", or "512K mac" as the remote device because it was the smallest and cheapest thing we could get with a screen on it.

I wish I were around when the car was invented. I'd write a patent for "going to the store using an automobile" and "carrying loads using a truck" Basically I'd patent everything anyone ever did with a horse but my novel idea would be to use a car for that same job.

If I had lived in 1905 I'd be a rich dead guy right now.
 

rcjhgoku

macrumors newbie
Nov 10, 2009
7
0
USA
Get a Logitech Harmony ONE!

Maybe I'm thinking along different lines, but this sounds like a huge win for anyone with a home theatre set up. I have 4 remotes and soon a 5th: AT&T U-Verse, Samsung TV, Yamaha Receiver, DVD/VCR Recorder and I'm thinking about a :apple:TV for the holidays. I can't use a universal like a Harmony because there are specific buttons on each remote that either don't exist on the Harmony or that I'd need to train for each remote which is a major pain.

If apple created a touch screen device that projected each remote's GUI or buttons then I could just use it rather than have a "Remote Caddy" that sits next to my couch. Knowing Apple, setting up something like this could be as simple as connecting the device to a wireless network, entering the manufacturer of the device and model number and it would automatically download a visual representation of the remote. SWEET!
The Logitech Harmony One is touch screen device that will do everything you want. I have it working with a Vizio HDTV, DVR, Pioneer Receiver, DVD player, and Apple TV. You can one touch to any 'activity' and set up pages of buttons on the touch screen to do something from any original remote for any device. My setup has been officially "wife" proofed".

For example: I Hit watch TV on the activity list and it will turn on the TV, DVR, Receiver and put all inputs on correctly. Any button on the remote can do what ever you want it to. Because there is no LIST button for DVR recordings on the ONE, I simply put that as the 1st touch screen button on the watch TV activity. You can set up pages of buttons to do anything your native remote can do. Also, you can setup sequences. You can have a button labeled "CBS" that will change your DVR channel to 802 for example with one press. It is truly AWESOME.

You program it via software and USB interface and their customer support is great. I had a problem with my TV cycling inputs when going from the Apple TV and DVR. They automatically did the setup fix while I was on the phone.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,568
638
Cork, Ireland.
I wonder what's 'new' about this?

I was working on a project like this years ago - devices which could send a GUI remote control interface via Bluetooth to a phone/PDA (in my case, running a J2ME app to receive and display the interface). And I doubt we were the first either.
 

baryon

macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
3,488
1,382
I think this idea makes sense, I hate car radio user interfaces for example. However, for a start, I would like it if radio manufacturers put the radio's connections a the FRONT of the radio rather than the back, so that we wouldn't have to take the car apart to the very tiniest bits in order to plug a freaking stereo jack in! But that's not Apple's business. I would love it if there would be a standard that every car radio would have built in Bluetooth, and every iPod would as well, and it would allow us to listen to music wirelessly, without the need of getting some special radio transmitter or a very expensive radio that supports the iPod cable.
 
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