Patent Describes Method Of Pushing Interface To Touchscreen Device

A new patent from Apple (#20090284476) describes a method in which a device might push it’s user interface to a smart remote. The patent doesn’t talk much about the device, describing it loosely as a small “accessory” with a touchscreen that changes it’s UI to match that of the device it’s controlling to control playback of audio or video remotely.

The premise of this patent is that you might be listening to music on your Pod (touch included), iPhone, Mac or Apple TV and not want to have to touch it to switch tracks. But, most remotes consist of an interface different than the one on the device you want to control, limiting how you can control the device, and limiting it to controlling only one device.

The solution they propose is to have the device being controlled actually push the graphical user interface it generates on it’s screen to a small accessory with a different screen that is capable of displaying the interface of any device it might be used for. This would allow the remote to essentially turn in to the GUI of the device it’s controlling.

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.

It is worth noting that such technology could potentially be used to push the interface of the device in question to an iPod touch or iPhone running Apple’s Remote [App Store, Free] app.

[via The Apple Blog]

View the comments on the forum…