Apple ‘s latest patents detailed by Patenly Apple, show an app that acts as a universal remote control. Obviously, somewhere in between the iPhone and the A/V equipment needs to be some sort of iPhone –> IR converter such as the recent RedEye Mini. The patents also show home automation features like multi-room “Fireplaces and lamps”
Perhaps most interesting however: The iPhone-IR converter may actually be the AppleTV, which has both networking (to communicate with the iPhone) and IR (to use the Apple Remote).
These patents also show the Apple TV running applications beyond the current FrontRow interface, such as “email, web browsers, programming guide applications or game networks”.
As these patents show, it is clear that Apple has big plans in the home with Apple TV and the iPhone. It’s only a matter of time before we start to see some of this functionality in shipping products.