C|Net: Remote Possibilities for Apple

Apple has tackled a lot of consumer products that just havenit been friendly enough for the everyday consumer and made them gems of design, excellence and ease of use. Appleis next move might be the wireless remote control, according to C|Net on Tuesday.

For example, Appleis iPod click wheel married two different sets of controls and made operation even simpler. The iPhone eliminated the tiny keys of smartphones and replaced them with a software programmable on-screen virtual keyboard. Appleis remote control from Front Row and Apple TV has only six button press options.

A remaining market, begging for attention from Apple is the ubiquitous remote control, according to Josh Lowensohn. To back up that assertion, the author looked at a sequence of Apple patents that seem to be leading up to just that notion.

"The smoking gun of all patents though was the one filed on 11 September 2006," Mr. Lowensohn wrote. "Titled iBackup of media librariesi, it loosely describes a way to play back and record media content. The patent depicts several ways to access the information, including on-screen overlays and a remote control media interface that appears in a portrait-size display that would fit in your hand. Sound like any devices you know?"

All Apple would have to do is add a very cheap IR emitter to the iPhone, something long gone from other smartphones for lack of utility. However, rumors of the iPhone 3G floating around mention it.

The author sees it as a standalone device for the living room. "Combine it as a pack-in with the Apple TV 2.0, or release it as a stand-alone product released at Macworld next year and Apple will be getting one more tentacle in your living room, and still have you wanting to buy more Apple hardware to keep it useful," Mr. Lowensohn concluded.