Apple has a new patent application (via AppleInsider) for a new mobile app that could be used specifically to amp up the Apple TV viewing experience. This would be different from the existing Remote app, in that it would more directly translate the on-screen experience of using both Apple TV, and iTunes on the desktop.
From the ground up, the app is based on a different paradigm when compared to the existing remote software, which was originally modeled on a hardware remote and despite many changes, continues to inherit much of its functionality from that concept. This app would essentially offer a mobile-specific translation of the full Apple TV interface, complete with media descriptions, ratings, and purchase/rental options.
Apple’s patent is even more interesting when it starts detailing how it will work as a second screen viewing companion. The app is designed to have two modes, one which is active, and which translates any input a user makes directly to the controlled device or software, and the other which works in the background in a “passive” state, letting you queue up commands while content plays back on the screen without disturbing any other viewers.
What you can also do, and where Apple starts recognizing how people are using their devices while viewing TV content, is browse the web to find trivia and facts about what you’re watching, and then broadcast that up on the screen overlaid on top of the movies and TV shows for the rest of the viewers to see.
Apple’s push into a smarter iOS-based remote isn’t surprising, given how much our habits have changed since the introduction of the original Remote app. Those eager to see evidence of Apple developing its own standalone TV might try to see some of that here, but I’m fairly confident this just indicates that they’re thinking about how to expand the possibilities of their current TV solutions, rather than coming up with dedicated sets.