New Apple Patent Offers Insight Into Universal Remote

A new patent published this week titled “Apparatus and Method to Facilitate Universal Remote Control” reveals a touchscreen-based universal remote that would operate a variety of devices, including computers, and promises to reduce the clutter found on many universal remotes sold today.

AppleInsider discovered the patent and quoted the filing as saying: “Users must spend time learning a new remote control or programming an existing universal remote each time they purchase a new remotely controllable appliance, which detracts from the enjoyment of using the appliance after it is first purchased. What is needed is an apparatus and a method to provide remote control over multiple appliances without the difficulties described above.”

A “discovery mechanism” in the remote would enable the software to receive a specific interface from a device and present a touchscreen-based layout that uses only the necessary inputs. The remote would gray out the button for any previously-discovered devices that are currently out of range.

The patent is credited to Albert Vidal. A Google search and a check of LinkedIn by TMO did not produce any background information on that individual.