An Apple patent application published yesterday reveals that the company has seriously looked into the notion of using near-field communication to allow its devices to take over your home, from the garage door to your gaming console.
The patent was originally filed in April of 2010 and is quite lengthy, with dozens of illustrations showing Apple products (largely the iPhone) using mostly NFC to act as a remote control to turn various household devices like televisions, projectors, standalone cameras, and DVRs into their slaves.
No, I'm not saying Apple has applied to patent digital slavery -- unless you already consider yourself a slave to Apple products in your house, in which case this patent could certainly tighten your iShackles while also making them a lot more comfy and amazing.
The banal title of the patent is "System and Method For Simplified Control of Electronic Devices," and while that string of words is yawn-inducing, it's also pretty accurate. The idea here is for Apple to control all your home's electronic devices, right down to your sprinkler system, by connecting them to a Mac or iOS device (or both) using NFC, RFID, or whatever other means of communication is available.
Many of the interactions described in the patent involve an iOS device and an Apple TV (the currently available set-top variety), including the interesting notion of being able to control games on an existing console, like an Xbox, using the iPhone touch screen.
This patent application was filed a full year before the similar Android @Home concept was introduced at Google I/O in 2011 (an idea that has rarely been heard from since). Not everything Apple patents makes it to market, of course, so it's possible this vision of a household indentured to Apple could also fade away. But with a new iPhone and the spectre of an Apple HDTV on the horizon, I imagine we'll be hearing more about some of these ideas soon, and many consumers will happily embrace their new forms of bondage.
(Via Patently Apple)