Apple’s current AirPlay technology lets you send media from your iOS devices to your TV. So you might play music or an AirPlay-enabled game on the big screen today, but there’s currently no real way to bring the content on your Apple TV, like the dozens of streaming applications, down to your mobile devices. Apple appears to have plans to change that, at least according to a new patent discovered by AppleInsider.
The patent is titled “Displaying a synchronized instance of content on a portable electronic device,” and describes a method by which the content on a “fixed display system,” such as a television, “is received by the portable electronic device.” Apple describes the use of 802.11 technology, which means you’ll likely need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network for all of this to work, and specifically focuses on the main system’s ability to determine whether or not the mobile device is compatible for streaming.
Here’s one use case scenario Apple envisions in the patent application: “When a group of people gather to watch a television program or a movie at home, at some point during the viewing someone may chose (sic) to temporarily leave the viewing area (e.g., to prepare food). Often, when someone leaves a viewing area during the presentation, the remaining viewers may decide to either stop the showing (e.g., pause it) and wait for the person to return, or let the presentation continue so that the person leaving the viewing area misses some of the show. Each choice has undesirable consequences that may result in an unsatisfactory experience.”
If Apple’s technology is applied, however, that person in the kitchen may be able to continue to watch on a device like an iPad or an iPhone.
We don’t know if this sort of technology would require a new version of the Apple TV, or if it might work with the existing model currently sold by Apple. Given the rumors surrounding a new Apple TV that might serve as the hub of a smart home, however, this might be one glimpse at what it might offer.