Apple Insider’s been playing the Patently Apple game of late, and their latest discovery further reinforces the Apple TV set rumors we’ve been hearing and sharing these last few months. In a nutshell, the blog’s uncovered a new Apple patent describing a refined, simplified universal remote controller concept. The idea is described thus:

Entitled “Apparatus and Method to Facilitate Universal Remote Control,” it describes a touchscreen-based controller that would reduce the confusing clutter found on current universal remotes. …

Apple’s proposed solution is a remote control with a dynamic touchscreen used for input. The remote would include a “discovery mechanism” that would discover available appliances for it to control, negating the need for users to enter complex codes and program individual devices.

Universal remote patent diagram.

That’s really all there is to the filing, but the legal paperwork does include mention of the controller’s ability to interface with several specific components, including televisions, CD players, DVD players, “smart home” control systems, desktop computers, and home theater stereos. Basically, the remote will control everything you’ve got that can be remotely controlled, so it’s definitely farther-reaching than simple Apple TV compatibility (hence its status as fuel to the rumor fire).

Functionally, the remote — most likely an iPhone or iPad or iPod touch — would recognize your setup and display the corresponding controls, so there’s never the risk of accidentally changing inputs or getting lost in a confusing menu of unused settings and technical minutiae.

Honestly, there’s nothing really revolutionary here. The finding merely demonstrates further what we already know: that Apple’s getting ready to bring your living room in line with Steve’s vision of the future. And, while Siri wasn’t specifically mentioned as part of said controller solution, she’s sure to be there when the lights go down, front and center with popcorn and Coke.

[Lead image: kottke.org]