Apple's existing Remote app is a pretty minimalist way for controlling iTunes or an Apple TV, but a new patent filed by the iPhone maker this week shows Cupertino may have far more ambitious plans yet to come.
The filing entitled "Browsing remote content using a native user interface" appears to show a more robust Apple TV-like graphical user interface intended for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad displays.
"The disclosed technology relates to receiving media signals from a media device and rendering a user interface that is native to the device receiving the media signals based on information encoded in the media signals," the patent filing reads.
"The device receiving the media signal interprets information received from the media device describing media content and semantic information describing a type of interface page, and displays the content based on the semantic information in a graphical user interface (GUI) on the electronic device based on the interpretation."
According to the filing, Apple's patent would provide something closer to mirroring an Apple TV user interface on a mobile device, but dynamically resized and optimized to fit the receiving display. Rather than acting simply as a touchscreen trackpad, the app would display synopsis and cast information, poster artwork, ratings, purchase details, and more.
Apple's patent details both active and passive operation, with the former intended for controlling the Apple TV in real time, with feedback showing immediately on a connected television screen. On the other hand, passive mode would allow users to browse Apple TV content even while the device is streaming media to a connected HDTV, without interrupting playback.
First filed in March, 2013, there's no indication from the patent filing as to when a next-generation Remote app might arrive, but we'd say a release timed closer to the release of a refreshed Apple TV would be a likely guess.