Talking tech since 2003

According to a patent filed by Apple and published yesterday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, your iPhone may soon be able to not only control the media in your home, but also your lights, window shades and garage door, to name a few.

This patent is for “systems and methods for saving and restoring scenes in a multimedia system,” and ties in with a patent first filed over five years ago by the developer behind the iTunes Remote App on iOS, Alan Cannistraro.

This application quickly became popular for controlling media wirelessly in your iTunes library, as well as a wireless remote for Apple TV. The “scene” technology that’s described in this new patent is somewhat more astounding and, of course, ambitious. In theory, this tech would allow you to turn your iPhone into an intelligent universal remote that can control “smart home” devices like in-home lights, window shades, garage doors, Wi-Fi and much more.

While conventional remotes and input devices allow you to control and manipulate how you view your multimedia across devices, these devices don’t let you set the proper mood, such as say, dimming the lights and drawing the shades closed as you prepare to watch a scary horror flick.


As can be seen in the patent diagrams above, provided courtesy of the USPTO, users would have the option to select from “Recommended Scenes” or use ones they’ve created on their own, such as “Study Scene” or “Romance Movie Night.” This would allow you to activate the best option for enjoying your particular form of entertainment – be it games, movies, music or television.

The technology would also be able to keep track of the state of your devices, instead of having to manually configure and monitor them yourself. Additionally, the system would store data patterns of how you enjoy your content, and use it to formulate suggestions for enjoying content later on. For example, if the system knows you enjoy watching Family Guy on Sundays with the blinds open and at a particular volume, it feasibly should remember that and apply it each time you enter the room to watch an episode.

Finally, the system would be able to start and stop media on-the-fly as you move from one position in your home to another. Much like how you can continue playing video games on your Nintendo Wii U controller when another family member or friend wants to watch television, the system would recognize when you move to another television, and begin playing where you left off at your new position.

Comedically and conveniently, there’s also an option detailed that claims the system can wait until a commercial break begins to start offering scene suggestions. Fantastic.

What’s important to remember here, largely, is that this is just a patent for now. There’s no indication that this capability will make its way anytime soon to the iPhone currently in your pocket, or that it even has the necessary components available to make such a system work.

And even if it did, you’d need a system that has hardware components that all connected wirelessly – which is largely not the case for a number of homes across the world.

Like we said – this is still a patent, an exciting one for sure, but it’s not in your living room just yet. But when/if it does… won’t that be so darn cool?


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