Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,021,337) for “systems and methods for saving and restoring scenes in a multimedia system.” It involves using your iPhone as an advanced remote for watching movies, TV shows, and videos.
In the patent filing, Apple says that in order to configure a conventional remote control to work with multiple devices, you must first specify the devices in your multimedia system. For example, you may specify a TV, a stereo receiver, and a DVD player.
What’s more, although conventional remote controls can save and restore different pre-defined scenes (e.g., "watch TV," "watch DVD," and "play game"), you have to spend time manually defining the scene (e.g., by specifying which device inputs to use, etc.). Apple notes that, in some conventional remote controls, you must use a computer to define a scene. For example, you may be watching a horror movie and may adjust the lighting and sound of the scene accordingly. And you may want to save the states of the devices so that the scene can be restored when, for example, you watch another horror movie a few days later.
In addition, Apple says that conventional remote controls may wait for you to activate a certain scene instead of recommending scenes based on past activities of the user or external parameters (e.g., genre of media that is playing, time of the day, and special occasions). For example, a conventional remote control may not be able to detect that you’re viewing a horror movie, and, as a result, suggest a saved scene that has been configured for horror movies.
Apple says that, for these reasons, “it would be desirable to provide systems and methods that allow a user to save and restore scenes in a multimedia system with minimal configuration.” The company says that it would also be desirable to provide suggestions of suitable recommended scenes based on states of devices in the scenes and usage patterns.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Systems and methods for saving and restoring scenes in a multimedia system with minimal configuration are provided. The techniques of the present invention can allow the states of the components in the multimedia system to be captured in a scene. Once the scene has been saved, the scene can be restored at a later time.
“A remote control system for recommending scenes by comparing states of components in the current scene with states of components in saved scenes is also provided. The remote control system can also recommend scenes based on usage patterns. Moreover, the remote control system can allow users to designate one or more saved scenes as favorite scenes.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.
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