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Apple wants to create iPhone-based automated homes

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
A new, extensive patent application details how a new iPhone model with a near-field communications chip could serve as the connected centerpiece of an automated digitally connected home.

Apple's interest in NFC chips doesn't end with the iPhone in a new patent application discovered by AppleInsider this week. The filing, entitled "System and Method for Simplified Control of Electronic Devices," also shows an Apple TV, iMac, various iPods, and even third-party devices like a cable box, PlayStation controller, or even a home sprinkler system equipped with NFC.

Illustrations accompanying the filing show a new radio frequency identification, or RFID, application available on the iPhone. Selecting that application allows the device to begin searching for nearby RFID-enabled devices.

Electronics can also be paired by using a scanning a barcode using the camera on the iPhone. In this way a user could securely take control of their own devices easily and quickly.

When a device is discovered, the iPhone could automatically install the appropriate plug-in to act as a controller. This method would allow the iPhone to gain compatibility with third-party devices that may have complex or unique control schemes.

Patent 1


The system is shown giving users the ability to select and control a number of devices, including multiple Apple TVs in the same house, an iMac, a home theater receiver, or a television set. To assist in the control of a plethora of devices, Apple's NFC application would allow users to sort their list of devices by categories, such as "Entertainment," "Home," and "Office." Compatible devices could also be listed by proximity to the iPhone.

When connected to a cable box and acting as a universal remote, the iPhone would offer typical control options like changing the channel and adjusting the volume, but it is also shown with programming information such as displaying the current channel number, what show is on the air, and a description of the program.

Patent 2


In yet another example included in the filing, the iPhone uses an RFID chip to wirelessly control a home thermostat. The proposed system would allow users to adjust the temperature in their home based on data obtained by the iPhone.

For example, a weather-based thermostat setting could allow users to adjust the temperature based on whether it is raining or sunny outside.

The system is also shown controlling the lights in a person's home, a security system, the garage door opener, and a sprinkler system for a truly connected home.

With an NFC chip, the iPhone could even act as a remote control to a camera. A compatible digital camera could wirelessly transmit its current picture, and the iPhone could be used to zoom in, zoom out, enable or disable the flash, and take a picture.

Patent 3


The details come from a massive 114-page filing first submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March of this year and made public this week. The proposed invention is credited to Michael Rosenblatt, Gloria Linn, Sean Mayo, and Taido Lantz Nakajima.

There have been rumors for years that Apple plans to include an NFC chip in an upcoming version of the iPhone. Expectations for RFID capabilities in the 2012 iPhone picked up steam after Apple announced Passbook for iOS 6, a new application that will organize tickets, store membership cards and airplane boarding passes.

Industry watchers have speculated that Passbook could become even more full-featured with a new NFC-equipped iPhone that could act as a digital e-wallet, allowing wireless authorization of transactions as well as secure e-ticketing. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was asked about the future of Passbook this week, but only went as far as to say that the new iOS 6 application will be a "key" feature of Apple's next-generation mobile operating system.
post #2 of 58

Nice.  You know how some of the new cars use a keyless entry?  I want that for my home, and for everything I use (where applicable).  Just obvious things, like turning lights on when I enter a room, dimming them at certain times, unlocking my front door as I approach and locking it when I leave, turning the AC on and off from a control panel on my phone, and, yes, remote toilet flushing.

post #3 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

Nice.  You know how some of the new cars use a keyless entry?  I want that for my home, and for everything I use (where applicable).  Just obvious things, like turning lights on when I enter a room, dimming them at certain times, unlocking my front door as I approach and locking it when I leave, turning the AC on and off from a control panel on my phone, and, yes, remote toilet flushing.

In some cases it is certainly favorable to have a 10 - 20 foot savety distance before flushing the toilet. Here comes the remote flusher very handy on my iPhone

post #4 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post
...and, yes, remote toilet flushing.

 

Yeah, flush it when someone ELSE is sitting on it.....

post #5 of 58
Let's see how long it takes people to whine about Apple blocking innovation as they do every time Apple is granted another patent. lol.gif
post #6 of 58

PLEASE !!!

 

This is about Apple protecting HOW they connect 3-Party (Hello? Non-Apple) devices like the Bluetooth PS3 controller I ALREADY HAVE to a iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.

OMG Yes Please and its years overdue but understand it is 3-Party and yes we are talking about Apple...

 

IOS has needed a Bluetooth gaming controller since it's start.

post #7 of 58

So what this article is telling me is that the iPhone 5 will have a NFC chip in it.

post #8 of 58

From that leaked picture of the new ipod touch, that has a "dimple" in the back side, should be for a connected controller (but will be bluetooth? the dimple is to just hold the ipod touch in your controller, not to allow it to controll the device, without bluetooth, I would guess).  But a bluetooth controller support is needed for the ipad for sure.

post #9 of 58

Folks,

 

The way I see it as a engineer is that the real issue is it limited to NFC; or can as suggested could a current BT (PS3?) controller connect?

Even with a added NFC ID requirement the patient is so Apple and understandable.If apple had a controller I would buy it but better is let me use what I already have that COULD work.

 

Pat

post #10 of 58

The issue with just straight bluetooth is that the apps need to support "everything" otherwise people will be mad, that's why Apple just creates a controller and give the code out.  That way it sells tons.  That's their game plan for sure, make more Billions.

post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilroot9 View Post
So what this article is telling me is that the iPhone 5 will have a NFC chip in it.

 

Nope, as NFC has nothing to do with making this a reality right now.

 

Also, the iPhone 4S doesn't have NFC.

post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Nope, as NFC has nothing to do with making this a reality right now.

 

Also, the iPhone 4S doesn't have NFC.

Yes, you are correct, but if you will be able to "control" everything with your iPhone, they need to put it into either this or the next. With passbook as their headline for this new phone, they will need NFC to help sell this new phone (give passbook unseen features?).  They can't let android get to far ahead in this catagory.

post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilroot9 View Post
Yes, you are correct, but if you will be able to "control" everything with your iPhone, they need to put it into either this or the next.

 

No… Wi-Fi and even Bluetooth can handle doing that perfectly fine. Better, probably, and the infrastructure is already everywhere.

post #14 of 58

So in order for someone to use this proposed feature every single device in their home would need to be replaced with one that is compatible.

post #15 of 58

Hmmm, Thank God for Android manufacturers showing that NFC matters. 

 

Wasn't long ago that people were saying NFC is stupid and they are glad the iphone doesn't have it. My my, how times have changed lol.gif

post #16 of 58
The lack of any television like icon is interesting. Or are Apple using an Apple Tv to play that role to maintain secrecy? Or is the whole Apple Television the biggest red herring in techno history! So many question .... /smile
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post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

Nice.  You know how some of the new cars use a keyless entry?  I want that for my home, and for everything I use (where applicable).  Just obvious things, like turning lights on when I enter a room, dimming them at certain times, unlocking my front door as I approach and locking it when I leave, turning the AC on and off from a control panel on my phone, and, yes, remote toilet flushing.

People sometimes think that automation will make their life easier when in fact the opposite is often true. When you walk into a room, the light switch is conveniently right by the door. You, on the other hand, want to get your iPhone out of your pocket launch an app or hold the iPhone up to the switch and let the NFC switch the light. In either case it just adds complexity.

 

What Apple has done in this patent makes a little more sense in that it controls devices that also have menus and settings


Edited by mstone - 7/26/12 at 8:06am

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post #18 of 58
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Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
Or is the whole Apple Television the biggest red herring in techno history!

 

While the TV rumors have been around longer, I think the iPhone nano is still the biggest red herring right now.

 

TV and iPad mini are very close to catching up, though.

post #19 of 58

Based on the diagram, I guess we know why they moved the headphone jack to the bottom on the next iPhone.

post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

While the TV rumors have been around longer, I think the iPhone nano is still the biggest red herring right now.

TV and iPad mini are very close to catching up, though.

True. Having said that a Dick Tracyesque iPhone Nano on your wrist design by Apple might be a massive success!
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post #21 of 58

Interesting... I do all this right now with bonjour/wifi and a Insteon controller (with it's own WiFi and powerline controllers) which is managed by Indigo on my mini via USB...      

 

NFC makes for a good 'motion control' sensor (not just 'a warm thing is in the room', but 'TheOther just entered the room, with his iPad... oops, now he's leaving, and Mrs TheOther isn't here... guess I'll turn off the light in 30 seconds'), if the range is at 'meters.'   But at 'bump to activate' that means it's  not hands free.

 

For most people... home automation should be 'hands free'  and/or automated, and the device is only for overrides ("Open the Pod bay doors, HAL").   

 

 

What Apple is doing is putting the 'app' at the center of all automation... and the iPad/Pod/Phone as the interface to the app.   Effectively, they want every man/woman/child to have in iDevice for everything from school, to school lunch, from reading books to buying books, for ordering lunch and paying for lunch, for work, and for working out.   

post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

The lack of any television like icon is interesting. Or are Apple using an Apple Tv to play that role to maintain secrecy? Or is the whole Apple Television the biggest red herring in techno history! So many question .... /smile

iTV methinks will be 'Remote V2' with a major update to the AppleTV device/capabilities (able to take in a coax as input from cable/satellite/OTA).

 

The interesting thing here is that you could consider the NFC chip 'individualizing' that remote capabilities, as opposed to being a 'dumb' remote based on the AppleTV base... now AppleTV can keep profiles on each 'remote' that connects to it, and then I get all my sports, and the Mrs gets all her real-housewives/survivor stuff up front.

 

I think this (NFC controlled home automation) is the red herring, or at least an effort to gain some high ground from the Patent Trolls that 'hey, I just thought of controlling a home using a portable device... let's patent it'   

post #23 of 58

I don't see this type of automation replacing switches and manual controls but simply adding some automation to it. Turning on a light as you walk in the room should be as simple as hitting the switch on the wall, or the sensor at the switch realizing that you have just entered the room and turning it on for you. Or perhaps you want to have certain lights come on at various times when you are on vacation. I'd much prefer to set up a program from my iphone that does takes care of that for me rather than setting up a bunch of timers on lamps.

 

Automation definitely needs to works with what we are used to rather than replace simple functions.

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post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

People sometimes think that automation will make their life easier when in fact the opposite is often true. When you walk into a room, the light switch is conveniently right by the door. You, on the other hand, want to get your iPhone out of your pocket launch an app or hold the iPhone up to the switch and let the NFC switch the light. In either case it just adds complexity.

 

What Apple has done in this patent makes a little more sense in that it controls devices that also have menus and settings

 

No no, I don't want to have to touch anything when I enter the room.  I just want the light to know that I'm there, and turn on if appropriate.  For example, if I enter the room from 6pm to 10pm, turn on the main light.  If I enter from 10pm to 6am, turn on the smaller light or a dimmed main light.

 

I'll admit that having a control panel to set this stuff up adds complexity, but the real light switch is still there and I don't have to set anything up if I don't care to.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokolosh View Post

I don't see this type of automation replacing switches and manual controls but simply adding some automation to it. Turning on a light as you walk in the room should be as simple as hitting the switch on the wall, or the sensor at the switch realizing that you have just entered the room and turning it on for you. Or perhaps you want to have certain lights come on at various times when you are on vacation. I'd much prefer to set up a program from my iphone that does takes care of that for me rather than setting up a bunch of timers on lamps.

 

Automation definitely needs to works with what we are used to rather than replace simple functions.

 

This guy gets it.  :)

post #25 of 58

Fantastic. Another 'everything under the sun' patent for Apple to hassle other manufacturers with. It will be interesting to see what PTO actually finds unique about this since almost everything in the diagram is already done. Another fine example of how the patent system is broken.

post #26 of 58
Originally Posted by smithers View Post
Fantastic. Another 'everything under the sun' patent for Apple to hassle other manufacturers with. It will be interesting to see what PTO actually finds unique about this since almost everything in the diagram is already done. Another fine example of how the patent system is broken.

 

Do you all have some website where you just copy stuff from to paste on forums?

post #27 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

Nice.  You know how some of the new cars use a keyless entry?  I want that for my home, and for everything I use (where applicable).  Just obvious things, like turning lights on when I enter a room, dimming them at certain times, unlocking my front door as I approach and locking it when I leave, turning the AC on and off from a control panel on my phone, and, yes, remote toilet flushing.

You mean like this?

http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/25/galaxy-s-iii-holiday-inn-keycard/
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post #28 of 58
I hope this comes sooner rather than later. Biometrics, too.

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post #29 of 58
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Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

 

No no, I don't want to have to touch anything when I enter the room.  I just want the light to know that I'm there, and turn on if appropriate.  For example, if I enter the room from 6pm to 10pm, turn on the main light.  If I enter from 10pm to 6am, turn on the smaller light or a dimmed main light.

 

 

 

This guy gets it.  :)

So you and your mate are sitting in a room and you get up to go get a snack from the kitchen. When you walk out, you leave your mate sitting in the dark?

 

Like I said it adds another layer of complexity. Anything can be programmed to allow for thousands of conditions but you already have a protein, enzyme, neuron based computer for that.

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post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post

Hmmm, Thank God for Android manufacturers showing that NFC matters. 

 

 

Actually, since you (practically speaking) really can't do anything useful on Android with NFC, I hardly think it's accurate to say that Android manufacturers showed that it matters. If we were to go by what you can actually do with it on Android devices, the conclusion would have to be that it doesn't matter, at all.

 

And (via Daring Fireball): http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/07/25/darpa-funded-researcher-can-take-over-android-and-nokia-phones-by-merely-waving-another-device-near-them/

post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Actually, since you (practically speaking) really can't do anything useful on Android with NFC, I hardly think it's accurate to say that Android manufacturers showed that it matters. If we were to go by what you can actually do with it on Android devices, the conclusion would have to be that it doesn't matter, at all.

And (via Daring Fireball): http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/07/25/darpa-funded-researcher-can-take-over-android-and-nokia-phones-by-merely-waving-another-device-near-them/

Good thing no one ever sees anyone with an Android device as per claims on AI. Btw the hacker needs to get really close to the person he's trying to hack.
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post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepy3 View Post

Hmmm, Thank God for Android manufacturers showing that NFC matters. 

 

Wasn't long ago that people were saying NFC is stupid and they are glad the iphone doesn't have it. My my, how times have changed lol.gif

That's just idiotic...

 

Apple will not just "jump" into anything like LTE unless it's widely implemented and all the power consumption issues are sorted out. When the next iphone arrives the LTE infrastructure will be more mature to satisfy a greater percentage of potential customers and the new LTE chips will be more energy efficient. SO in other words. it's time. My "4G" on At&t is plenty fast most of the time for me anyways. 

 

I remember my friends that had the first LTE phones....They never had it on because it ate battery like crazy and they didnt have LTE service at home but they did in the city...but they still had to pay the extra $10 to have the LTE service even if they didnt get it everywhere. 

 

it's the same with NFC.. the market wasnt ready for it... Android haphazardly released it just to be the "first". 

post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Good thing no one ever sees anyone with an Android device as per claims on AI. Btw the hacker needs to get really close to the person he's trying to hack.

 

Like, as close as a pickpocket?

post #34 of 58
1. I fully agree with the remote toilet flush. I prefer to be a few feet away than to hear the sound. A delay mechanism would work as well.

2. Funny the DVR is playing "The Mole".
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I hope this comes sooner rather than later. Biometrics, too.

Wasn't biometrics the next thing for Steve? The one thing he was most interested in?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokolosh View Post

Or perhaps you want to have certain lights come on at various times when you are on vacation. I'd much prefer to set up a program from my iphone that does takes care of that for me rather than setting up a bunch of timers on lamps.

Automation definitely needs to works with what we are used to rather than replace simple functions.

I'd rather configure my timers from OSX as opposed to iOS, but fully agree with your post nonetheless.
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post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post

 

No no, I don't want to have to touch anything when I enter the room.  I just want the light to know that I'm there, and turn on if appropriate.  For example, if I enter the room from 6pm to 10pm, turn on the main light.  If I enter from 10pm to 6am, turn on the smaller light or a dimmed main light.

 

I'll admit that having a control panel to set this stuff up adds complexity, but the real light switch is still there and I don't have to set anything up if I don't care to.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

So you and your mate are sitting in a room and you get up to go get a snack from the kitchen. When you walk out, you leave your mate sitting in the dark?

 

Like I said it adds another layer of complexity. Anything can be programmed to allow for thousands of conditions but you already have a protein, enzyme, neuron based computer for that.

Bill Gates had a similar system in his "home" where people wore Star Trek style badges which the automation system detected as they moved from room to room.  Lights, AC, Music followed you around the house.  Since each person would have a badge no one would be left in the dark.  Pretty silly really.  Basically it was just techno-masturbation.  

post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

1. I fully agree with the remote toilet flush. I prefer to be a few feet away than to hear the sound. A delay mechanism would work as well.

Wasn't biometrics the next thing for Steve? The one thing he was most interested in?

1) You don't want David Mitchell in his snooker voice to exclaim "Oh and that's a bed mess!" every time you use the toilet? 😷

2) He mentioned something about biometrics before. I'm sure Apple is working on something. Nike et al. have some products on the market but they are very incomplete and rudimentary for recording your biometrics. This is where a company like Apple can really shine although I don't think it'll really be useful until we have can some internal sensors feeding data back to our iPhone via Bluetooth low energy (BLE).

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post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by genny View Post
link

 

How's this not spam?

 

Edit: HA HA HA! The spammer reported this post as spam! lol.gif


Edited by Tallest Skil - 7/26/12 at 12:53pm
post #38 of 58

Biometrics?

Looking forward to the iChip!

Just sneak it under your skin and forget about it.

 

:D

post #39 of 58
To turn on if appropriate... you really want Apple driving that bus? The same Apple who thinks it's a good idea to disable monitor #2 every time an app goes full screen on monitor #1 (and vice versa)?

Sorry, I'm just slightly torqued they didn't fix it in ML.. By the way, if anyone is wondering, a 27" Cinema Display has capacity of 40 standard size post-it notes (5 rows of 8). Post-It Note capacity (or PINC for short) is currently the most important technical spec to watch for when shopping for a 2nd monitor for your Mac.
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Like, as close as a pickpocket?

Yes but does a pickpocket stick around close to his victim? The hacks aren't instantaneous, once out of the frequency field the connection is lost as is the hack.
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