The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-two newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. This morning's second report is focused on a single Apple TV patent. It's a patent regarding episodic TV and it's another patent credited to the late, great, Steve Jobs.
Apple Wins an Apple TV Patent Relating to Organizing Episodic TV
Apple has received a Granted Patent relating to a method of organizing episodic content such as TV shows on Apple TV.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 shown below, illustrates a block diagram of an example interface environment which corresponds to television content, and could, for example, appear as the end result of the transition from a higher level (e.g., closer to a "root" level) interface environment after selecting a media menu item entitled "TV Shows." The patent goes on to state that the menu items, could, for example, "correspond to television shows that have either been recorded from a broadcast or purchased from a content provider."
Recording broadcast TV shows isn't an option available today on Apple TV, so it's interesting to see that this option was listed in this 2006 Apple TV patent which also credits Steve Jobs as one of the inventors. Early into the patent Apple refers to Apple TV working with a cable network. This notion of being able to record TV shows on an Apple TV has since been bolstered in a 2011 granted patent which clearly states that "Media systems could also be used to connect a media environment to a video content provider, such as a cable service provider." It doesn't get any clearer than that.
In October 2011, the Washington Post reported that Steve Jobs had told his authorized biographer Walter Isaacson that he'd "like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," and that "It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud." Steve Jobs went on to state that "No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."
In Microsoft's last CES keynote, Steve Ballmer discussed advances coming to Xbox's Kinect to control TV (around the 52 minute mark and beyond), movies and more using a "natural user interface" that includes "actionable discovery." It would appear that Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Kinect related technologies may go head to head in vying for the TV interface of tomorrow. Of course Google isn't going to relent either.
Time will tell how this plays out in the future, but if Apple is going to be a real contender on this front, then they're going to have to either make peace with the cable providers or strike a landmark deal with the individual studios to bypass cable providers. The latter is highly unlikely to occur. Yet - Whatever Steve Jobs finally came up with, I'm sure it's bound to be another revolutionary idea. Let's just hope that it's practical as well.
Apple's First Patent Claim: A computer-implemented method, comprising: receiving episodic content including one or more episodes of television programs and storing the episodic content in a data store; receiving metadata associated with the episodic content and storing the received meta data in the data store; displaying on a display device a menu arranged in an interface environment, the menu comprising a list of menu items associated with the episodic content; displaying on the display device a sort interface arranged in the interface environment, the sort interface defining a plurality of sort options and being configured to receive a selection of a sort option and to sort the list of menu items based upon the selection; in response to receiving a selection of a sort option: determining whether the received metadata stored in the data store includes metadata that facilitates sorting the menu items in accordance with the sort option: in response to determining that the received metadata does include metadata that facilitates sorting the menu items in accordance with the sort option, sorting the menu items based on the received metadata in accordance with the sort option; and in response to determining that the received metadata does not include metadata that facilitates sorting the menu items in accordance with the sort option: extracting from the received metadata that is associated with additional metadata that facilitates sorting the menu items in accordance with the sort option; providing the extracted metadata to a content provider and receiving the additional metadata from the content provider in response; and sorting the menu items based on the additional metadata in accordance with the sort option; and displaying on the display device the sorted menu items.
Apple credits the late, great Steve Jobs along with Rainer Brodersen, Rachel Goldeen, Jeffrey Ma and Mihnea Pacuraiu as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q3 2006.
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
News Tidbit: New iPhone app Brings New Shopping Experience To Singapore
VR-Zone reports that 313@Somerset welcomes in the Year of the Dragon by launching the first ever 313 iDragon iPhone app for Singaporean shoppers. The app reportedly uses augmented reality technology to find and capture "3-D" Jewels hidden on the iconic 313 Fashion Dragon installation in the Atrium.
Here are a Few Sites covering our Original Report
MacSurfer, Twitter, Facebook, Apple Investor News, Google Reader, Macnews, iPhone World Canada, MarketWatch, MacDailyNews, 9to5 Mac, AppleInsider, Cult of Mac, Apple Adictos Spanish, MacTechNews Germany, iPhoneclub Netherlands, GIGA Germany, iPhoneAddict France, Mela Blog Italy, Digital Apple Italy, Mac User Greece, Apple TV Guide Denmark, WebProNews, ModMyi, Redmond Pie, Pulse2, iSmashPhone, Fast Company, PadGadget, Apple HD Blog Italy, TUAW, Techmeme, iPhoneinCanada, Ars Technica, and more.