Apple notes that modern appliances typically include a remote control to operate functions of the appliance without having to go to it. Most of these remote controls have a myriad of buttons and switches to control their many functions. In most cases only a tiny subset of these buttons are used and most buttons just confuse users.
In addition to the complicated remotes, users are also confronted with multiple remotes, one for each device. Apple notes that manufacturers have created 'so-called universal remote controls' which attempt to address this problem; however, these devices are even more complex to operate, further confusing the user. In addition a user must spend time programming an existing universal remote control each time they purchase a new remotely controllable appliance, which detracts from the enjoyment of using the appliance after it is first purchased.
Apple's solution is a remote control which includes a display screen and user input mechanism.
"The universal remote control also includes a processing unit that is configured to display information on the display screen and to accept selection data from the user input mechanism. The universal remote control additionally includes a wireless communication mechanism that is configured to provide communications between the processing unit and an appliance. The appliance provides information to be displayed on the display screen, and information entered through the user input mechanism is communicated to the appliance. Since the appliance provides the information to be displayed on the display screen and also forwards the entries on the input mechanism, the universal remote control needs no special knowledge about the appliance."
One embodiment of the universal remote control includes a touch screen, which functions as the display screen and the user input mechanism. Other embodiments detail device discovery through wireless communication, Bluetooth, or user input.
Read More [via AppleInsider]