Apple patent application reveals new two-way ‘AirPlay’ interactivity and hints of ‘iTV’

“On May 23, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals Apple’s next generation of ‘AirPlay’ that will be able to operation in a two-way manner that is also interactive,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple. “Apple also hints that the separate devices of an Apple TV and a Television could be combined into a single device, an Internet-enabled television.”

“One current limitation with this feature is that the communication between the computing device and the intermediate device/television is generally one way (i.e., from the computing device to the intermediate device/television),” Purcher reports. “Accordingly, there is no way for a user viewing the television to provide, though an input interface of the television or the intermediate device, commands back to the computing device for interacting with the application executing on the computing device.”

Purcher reports, “Apple’s invention relates to providing techniques for concurrently presenting multiple, distinct user interfaces for a single software application on multiple display devices. Each of the user interfaces can be interactive, such that user input received with respect to any of the user interfaces can change the state of the application and/or modify data associated with the application. Further, this state or data change can be reflected in all (or a subset) of the user interfaces.”

Much more, including Apple’s patent application illustrations and diagrams, in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]


  1. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would rewrite these patent articles into plain english. Speculate what it all means and give some examples of possible devices or functions that could be the result of the invention. Do it in a more understandable way instead of what seems to me like lawyer talk.

  2. Well I guess if certain abilities, functions and responses to commands on or through the TV even if made initially via another device can then give responses back to those or other devices, it would potentially open up an awful lot of extra functionality and control and in a seamless manner and allow TV makers to build in various functionality without Apple having to make a TV set itself. If you could only take or give information to the internet for example it would be far less useful, let alone an interactive experience than being able to go both ways and gaining responses to each input you make.

  3. I don’t have to be a lawyer to understand that Apple has stated that the could combine an Apple TV with a traditional TV.

    Secondly, it sounds like you’ll be able to interact with your TV show like “The Voice” for instance. Instead of voting by phone or having to buy a tune to count as a vote for your favorite artist, you’ll likely be able to interact with the content online with your iPad or iPhone.

    I understand that Apple is guarded in their examples as they know Samdung is reading it too. But they provide just enough to understand that interactivity is coming to a future versions of Airplay.

      1. Once upon a time…, circa mid-1990s, Apple did an experiment with two-way media communication boxes. I got to play with them at Disney’s Epcot Center where they were being shown along side Apple’s concepts for what became… iPads. I seem to recall it was a project involving Sony to enable actual interactive media.

        Occasionally one of these never-on-the-market boxes will show up on the auction sites. (No, I don’t mean the Pippin boxes, which came a bit later).

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