A patent recently granted to Apple shows a wand-like remote control that communicates with a TV-connected device, such as the Apple TV box, but enables the viewer to use touch and motion gestures.
This suggests that Apple is looking at ways to go beyond the traditional button-based remote control.
According to Patently Apple, the application was originally filed in 2007, before the recent flood of rumours about an Apple-branded TV set. However, this kind of control system could also be incorporated into a device like that, as well as its Apple TV media player.
Taking their cue from the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft's Kinect add-on, manufacturers such as LG, Toshiba and Samsung have begun building gesture control into some of their TVs, while numerous hi-fi controlling apps for tablets and smartphones also use tilting to change things like volume levels.
As the Patently Apple story notes, "The wand may include a motion detection component providing outputs reflecting the movements of the wand to the electronic device. As another example, the wand may include an input mechanism for receiving inputs from the user."
The site suggests this could include a touch screen, touchpad or touch strip used to zoom the display to focus on one object, which may be how you would navigate through a multi-layered menu system.
We assume this will all be more high-tech and contemporary looking than the “Harry Potter”-style wand controller that won investment on Dragon’s Den in 2010.
The Apple wand controller seems to be related to another patent application, published in 2009, featuring a “3D wand” that uses a floating magnetic compass for controlling Apple TV.
Other newly awarded Apple patents show plans to use printed coils for electromagnetic induction battery charging; and also a new way to “stack” multiple images, such as the Camera Roll, on the iPad display.
Via Patently Apple