Sunday, November 22, 2009

Apple Developing Device-Generated Remote Control UI

After trying to control various electronics remotely -- with universal remotes, for example -- it is obvious to any user that the device you have in your hand is not quite as capable at controlling the device you want controlled as the controls on the target device itself. Apple seeks to remedy this with device-generated user interfaces that devices -- like iPods -- could push to would-be controllers in order to expose both a consistent interface (regardless the controlling tool) and an interface capable of exposing enough of the target device's functionality to make the controller useful.

The benefit of this scheme would be generic protocols for seeking and accepting both a UI and a command list. Users of iPods whose users hope to connect them to home stereos, automobiles, and other equipment will be able to expect easier control, more consistent behavior between devices, and perhaps (depending on licensing) cheaper control kits. If this matures into a shipping product, Apple could claim the high ground in the user interface fight over mobile devices in an increasingly interconnected (docking, bluetooth, wifi, etc.) world.

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