Apple sees the iPhone becoming a central controlling hub that will help to operate various bits of home entertainment kit in the future, a patent application suggests.
The electronics manufacturer has applied for a patent to cover an iPhone that could be used to wirelessly connect to and control TVs, Hi-Fis and set-top boxes.
The handset will use Near Field Communication (NFC) to get connected, which basically means that it will be able to broadcast its commands over a short distance.
Apple's remote-cum-mobile will also connect to the internet in order to download a controlling client that is relevant to the networked devices.
It is clear that Apple expects to play a bigger role in the manipulation of the digital home over the next few years, although The Register suggests that the patent might be doomed to failure because it may conflict with existing intellectual property.
Many firms are attempting to change the way that home entertainment devices are perceived and it seems inevitable that audiovisual equipment will in time become a mere portal for the streaming of content from virtually any source.
The patent suggests that NFC is the primary route which Apple wishes to take, but observers have pointed out that other short range communications standards are mentioned in the application.
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