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Apple filing depicts Apple TV with iChat widget interface

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
A new and discrete patent filing on the part of Apple Inc. portrays previously undisclosed versions of the company's Apple TV set-top-box software and remote control that make extensive use of widgets to facilitate everything from online chat to ordering concert tickets during a concert broadcast.

The August 2006 filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office spans some 39 pages, but bears some of its most enticing revelations as part of a discussion involving ways of associating Dashboard-like widgets with various kinds of video content.

Apple says such widgets could be displayed or become available based on the content currently displayed in the Apple TV user interface. If the content is broadcasted, such as live television, then a widget could potentially be downloaded as part of the broadcast signal from a cable head-end, or provided through a separate communication such as an Internet connection, and then displayed over the content.

The widget can also be downloaded at a different time than the broadcast signal and invoked by information contained in the broadcast signal, the company explained. Similarly, it could be triggered by some event , such as user interaction with a user interface element, or come included with the content on a storage medium such as a DVD.



"For example, while the user is viewing a musical performance a ticket widget can be displayed over the content or elsewhere in the user interface, which can be access by the user to purchase concert tickets or receive other information related to the concert or performer," Apple said. "In the example shown (below), the widget could be triggered by a marker in the content which corresponds with a portion of the concert where the performer is not performing, or can be based on a period of inactivity (e.g., the DVD player is placed on "pause"). In some implementations, the widget can be displayed as part of a DVD menu system."



In order to facilitate interaction with the widget, the Cupertino-based company proposes a revised version of its Apple Remote device that can include one or more generic buttons that can be programmed automatically or manually to interact with the widget.

"The mapping between the controls and various parameters of the widget can automatically change to correspond to the widget currently displayed in the user interface," the company said. "In the example shown, an remote control button assignment map is displayed in the user interface to remind the user of the current functions that are mapped to the generic controls. Alternatively, the remote control device can include dedicated controls that provide the same function for each widget displayed in the user interface."



Apple's filing also illustrates an exemplary process for displaying real-time information using a widget (above) in order to supplement broadcasted content, such as live sporting events. In such scenarios, Apple TV would be able to display a widget in the user interface that is capable of receiving and display in real-time the win/loss records of two baseball teams participating in the live broadcast of a baseball game.

Taking that concept a bit further, Apple also illustrated an process for providing live chat sessions using widgets on an Apple TV device. "In some scenarios, it may be desirable to discuss with others the content displayed in the user interface in real-time using one or more widgets," the company wrote. "In some implementations, the user can use the remote control device or other input device to start a video and/or audio conferencing application using widgets."



As an example of such a video conferencing application (above), Apple specifically mentioned iChat, but said that other video, audio or web conferencing technologies could also theoretically be used.

"For example, in some applications dialog windows can be opened in a multimedia center application for receiving instant messaging text with or without video feeds of the participants," the company said. "In some implementations, the widgets include drawers which can be pulled open to reveal various controls for adjusting video or audio."



Elaborating further on its Apple TV iChat concept, Apple said widget interface could also include is a list of individuals currently online, as well as other controls, such as links to web sites and other resources that include information that may be of interest to the participants.

Like its personal computer-based equivalent, Apple TV's version of iChat could host video chats with three simultaneous participants, either in a three-panel widget interface or as separate widgets.

post #2 of 26
Does this mean that Apple is trying to become the new TicketMAster?? It would be nice if we could get online with the ATV now rather then wait for a widget with its purpose being to buy more product and put even more $$ in Apple's pocket.
post #3 of 26
What I think is more interesting is that this points at television and dvd compatibility... We should expect widgets, but I thought Steve was adamant about not doing TV and most "experts" are speculating about Apple leading the decline or obsoletion (sp?) of optical drives.
post #4 of 26
Can you even imagine trying to chat with someone using the remote? It takes 1 1/2 minutes just find something on YouTube!
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Can you even imagine trying to chat with someone using the remote? It takes 1 1/2 minutes just find something on YouTube!

video chat?

anyway, all this and all i've been asking for is a simple weather widget on my bigscreen....lets start with the basics, Apple. It's already built in to the OS, sheesh.
:-D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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:-D * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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post #6 of 26
Very interesting. However I feel compelled to point out that this:

"If the content is broadcasted, such as live television..."

should actually read:

"If the content is broadcast, ..."

As to the person commenting that Apple doesn't want to get into TV, I think the patent could just as easily apply to internet broadcasts as it does cable if I read it correctly.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandau View Post

video chat?

anyway, all this and all i've been asking for is a simple weather widget on my bigscreen....lets start with the basics, Apple. It's already built in to the OS, sheesh.

Or Safari- hello? The iPhone and iTouch can have it but not this 160GB sandwich warmer?
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by asilentthing View Post

What I think is more interesting is that this points at television and dvd compatibility... We should expect widgets, but I thought Steve was adamant about not doing TV and most "experts" are speculating about Apple leading the decline or obsoletion (sp?) of optical drives.

You must be new because otherwise you would know he says one thing and does the other all the time.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Can you even imagine trying to chat with someone using the remote? It takes 1 1/2 minutes just find something on YouTube!

Maybe a new remote. One that is all screen like the iPhone/Touch. One that changes it's "buttons" based on what's on the screen?
post #10 of 26
I love the idea of additional data streams accompanying hd broadcasts. I'm just suprised it has taken this long.
post #11 of 26
I hope this portends an overhaul of the Dashboard subsystem. It, sadly, appears to be largely untouched in Leopard. So much more could be done with Dashboard in OS X. Hello? Dashboard Spaces? The idea is practically a no-brainer.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

Maybe a new remote. One that is all screen like the iPhone/Touch. One that changes it's "buttons" based on what's on the screen?

The Remote 'IS' the iPhone/Touch
5-8" MultiTouch Mini Tablet would go down a treat if you're reading!
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5-8" MultiTouch Mini Tablet would go down a treat if you're reading!
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post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by asilentthing View Post

What I think is more interesting is that this points at television and dvd compatibility... We should expect widgets, but I thought Steve was adamant about not doing TV and most "experts" are speculating about Apple leading the decline or obsoletion (sp?) of optical drives.

WIth everyone suing every 10 seconds these days, Apple is better off putting down every aspect or possibility they discussed, even if they decided not to take that road (...yet?).
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

I think the patent could just as easily apply to internet broadcasts as it does cable if I read it correctly.

Probably refers to content from iTunes store.
post #15 of 26
Did anyone else notice games in the first menu?

I've always thought Apple TV would be a great avenue for games to be played on your TV which you'd download and store in your computer. All you'd really need is a Wii-like controller and sufficient hard drive space to store the games you want. It would be a sweet addition for Apple TV and you wouldn't need a separate game console anymore.
post #16 of 26
Where is this Apple company actually located???
post #17 of 26
It's been more than a week or two since Steve told us about it... where in the world is the new content and the software upgrade for the apple tv?
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregoriusM View Post

Where is this Apple company actually located???

I don't know. They must be -based somewhere.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

I don't know. They must be -based somewhere.

In the land of WOZ!
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by onceuponamac View Post

It's been more than a week or two since Steve told us about it... where in the world is the new content and the software upgrade for the apple tv?

Should come Tuesday - if not, us AppleTV owners will come after him with pitchforks!
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Should come Tuesday - if not, us AppleTV owners will come after him with pitchforks!

So... Steve meant a week plus two - not a week or two! I'll have to find my pitchfork.
post #22 of 26
ugh AppleTV... joost has had widgets from day one but they don't try to sell you anything. Right now, they have chat (text), rate the show you are watching, news, weather, clock, and a few others.

Granted, joost is just not all it was cracked up to be. They have really bad coding (using 100% of the processor when connected to a 1080p TV is inexcusable and shoddy) and has stopped me from even trying to use it.

back to my ugh AppleTV. So now, apparently, we'll have a new remote with one or two tiny buttons that do something 99% of people don't want to do. Seems like AppleTV will continue to be a simpleton user device and not the gadget all us technophiles WANT to add to our home theaters to replace our Windoze HTPCs.
post #23 of 26
Gives a whole new meaning to "iChat Theater".

It sounds strange, but I can imagine people remotely watching programs with each other. Each person would have their own PIP box on the other people's screens. A similar type of phenomenon is already quite common, people watching tv together while chatting on the phone.
post #24 of 26
AppleTV is not the first product to envision this type of user experience. Remember the old AOLTV service? It included overlays like this, including chat and instant messaging features tied to the channel being viewed. Very cool for its day.

AOL has approved patents for these and other technologies. There were also synchronized games to play along with broadcast TV, and news and sports scores, and interactive tie-ins with TV commercials.

It's questionable whether all of APple's patent applications will be approved. There's tons of prior art of the subject. One of the original patent authors for AOLs iTV patents has an interesting post at www.BroodingSavage.com
post #25 of 26
Just to be clear... I love my AppleTV -- or at least I will when the software upgrade comes out... But come on, have we been waiting 10 years to have sport scores on a TV screen? This is old new for some of us. www.BroodingSavage.com
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerjoe View Post

I love the idea of additional data streams accompanying hd broadcasts. I'm just suprised it has taken this long.

It didn't take this long... and hasn't yet happened

The biggest problem with additional streams is making a standard. If any company has their own idea, and doesn't license it or licenses it too expensively, then TV channels just aren't willing to add an AppleTV-stream, as well as a Microsoft stream, and a TiVo stream, Sony stream etc. Too much work.

That said - there ARE standards for the interactivity. In Australia, the FTA channels picked a standard, and the cable channels picked a different one. Hmmm! It doesn't help the show creators anyway since they still have 2 choices (which may or may not match US standards etc).
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