The iPhone as an intelligent remote control, and a DIY silent disco device – Apple patents

Moving beyond today's remotes (image: bttremote.com)

Moving beyond today’s remotes (image: bttremote.com)

An iPhone may fall under the generic heading of a mobile phone, but a combination of the convenience of apps and the ability to use the iPhone as a remote for everything from playing a movie to changing the color of our lighting means that many of us use them at home almost as much as we do when out & about.

In a patent published today, Apple explores the potential of the iPhone to act as an intelligent remote with the kind of functionality typically associated with high-end home automation setups. The idea is based around the concept of ‘scenes’. Having a romantic night in with your partner? You probably want the lights dimmed, the music on softly, the TV off. Movie night? The big-screen on, Apple TV selected as the source, surround-sound speakers selected, volume up higher – and so on …  Read more

Apple says small number of Apple TVs have WiFi issues, opens replacement program

AppleTVReplacement

Apple has informed its official retail stores, AppleCare employees, and authorized resellers that a small number of third-generation Apple TV units have WiFi issues. These issues surround not being able to locate a WiFi network, unable to join a network, and dropped or intermittent connections.

Apple has determined that a very small number of Apple TV (3rd generation) products might experience one of these Wi-Fi related connectivity issues: Cannot locate network, Unable to join network, Dropped or intermittent connection.

If an Apple technician determines that an applicable Apple TV has these issues, the unit can be replaced as part of a replacement program that Apple has begun because of these WiFi issues. Apple says that replacements can be offered free of charge up to two years after the device’s purchase date.

Here are the serial number pairs that are eligible:

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Report: Hon Hai source says 46 to 55-inch Apple TV set in testing, no panel supplier confirmed, 2013 launch unlikely

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Last week, a report from The Wall Street Journal claimed Apple’s much rumored HDTV set is now in the “early stages of testing” with partners Hon Hai Precision and Sharp. Today, we get more details surrounding the rumored product from the Taiwan national news agency’s English language Focus Taiwan. According to the report, citing sources close to Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the supplier is testing Apple television designs, but the possibility of the product shipping in 2013 is “unlikely”:

Nevertheless, the source said it is unlikely that shipments of the appliances will begin as soon as the end of next year.

While the report from WSJ claimed Sharp was involved in the initial testing of the product with Hon Hai, Focus Taiwan’s source claimed the possibility of Sharp displaying panels for the product is “not high”:

Asked whether the new Apple TV will use display panels produced by Japan’s Sharp Corp., the source said the possibility is not high.

The source also claimed that Apple is looking at displays ranging from 46 inches to 55 inches, meaning the company likely wouldn’t rely on Sharp’s plants best suited for production of 60+ inch panels: Read more

Analyst interprets comments by Apple SVP Eddie Cue and doesn’t expect an Apple Television anytime soon

Update: Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves reached out to us with some clarification on his note to clients earlier today noting the “commentary in our note was our interpretation and our thoughts based on the meetings we had”:

Nobody at Apple said anything to us about future products. The commentary in our note was our interpretation and our thoughts based on the meetings we had. It’s ok if you say “Analyst does not expect a TV any time soon”, but its incorrect to attribute the commentary to Apple management, particularly in the title.

While recent reports claimed Apple is in deep negotiations with cable operators to create a new cable TV platform for Apple TV, many also tied the reports to the possibility of a full-fledged Apple HDTV. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek claimed just last week that Apple’s HDTV set is in full production, and he went as far as including 2 million units of the device at an average sale price of $1,250 in his model for early 2013.

According to a note to clients from Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves, who spoke with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Senior Vice President for Internet Services Eddy Cue on Wednesday, Apple’s entrance into the HDTV world is “extremely unlikely in the near-term.” Fortune posted an excerpt from Hargreaves’ notes today following his meeting with Oppenheimer and Cue:
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Apple in talks to Stream EPIX to devices including HDTV

Reuters reported today that Apple has been in talks since earlier this year to stream films owned by premium TV channel EPIX to Apple TV set-top boxes and potentially its much-rumored upcoming HDTV product. Three major studios including Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Lionsgate back the channel:

Apple Inc began talks earlier this year to stream films owned by EPIX, which is backed by three major movie studios, on devices including a long-anticipated TV, according to two people with knowledge of the negotiations… Apple is widely expected to unveil a full-fledged TV product later this year or in early 2013 to drive its next phase of growth and potentially revolutionize the industry.

According to the report, Apple’s attempts to acquire the content could run into trouble due to EPIX’s $200 million agreement with Netflix that gives the service streaming rights through September of this year.

In March, the New York Post reported Apple plans to launch a new TV streaming service in time for Christmas of this year, despite troubles signing up major content partners. The report claimed content providers had “largely balked” at Apple’s unwillingness to negotiate on pricing. It also stated Apple wanted content providers to offer their channels through iOS and Apple TV-like apps. Earlier reports from analysts indicated Apple could partner with its existing carrier partners, such as AT&T and Verizon, to take advantage of their programming for upcoming streaming services.
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Analyst: Apple could use ‘iTV’ moniker for HDTV, partner with carriers for programming

Apple’s rumored HDTV might be called the iTV, according to a new report from Bloomberg citing Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek. In a note to clients this morning, Misek also claimed Apple might buy licenses for programming through possible partnerships with Verizon and AT&T and could “leverage content into a YouTube-like model” by taking advantage of user created video from iPhone and iPad users. He also noted “Lower margins and higher risks” will most likely keep Apple away from creating original programming. Misek did not comment on a possible timeframe for the product’s launch.

Misek’s scenario of Apple partnering with carriers for content follows a report from Reuters today that confirmed Verizon and Coinstar’s Redbox division have partnered with plans to create a video streaming service to rival Netflix and Hulu Plus. Verizon and Redbox plan to offer its first product resulting from the partnership in second half of the year. As for the possibility of Apple calling its HDTV product the “iTV.” Apple will of course have to work out rights to the name from the major United Kingdom TV network of the same name.

Just last week, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster weighed in claiming Apple was talking with a “major TV component supplier” about “various capabilities of their television display components.” He also offered three possible scenarios for how Apple will approach content on its HDTV product suggesting a simple integration of third-party live TV services, to a live TV/web content combination, to an iTunes monthly subscription.

In related news, you might have come across a BestBuy survey recently that aims to gauge interest in an Apple HDTV concept. If you are interested in seeing what BestBuy dreamed up for the survey, a copy sent to us by a reader is available below (Thanks Alan!):

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