Apple has submitted a full eleven patent applications this week, all of which detail various potential aspects of functionality for its AirPlay and AirPrint technology. As well as the basics - speaker systems, PMPs and docks being able to wirelessly connect to iPhone, iPod and iPad devices, and play multimedia through them - the applications also cover a wide range of other possible peripherals, including home appliances, security and CCTV hardware, gaming controllers or mice, medical devices and in-car automotive systems.
The patents collectively describe an ecosystem where peripherals could not only be controlled - and media playback managed - from the iPod/iPad itself, but conversely from the peripheral's own interface. One application covers remotely accessing an iPod playlist from a media player, while another documents using the peripheral's buttons and other controls to remotely operate the Apple device.
Meanwhile there's also IP around broadening the ecosystem and the technological details of its management. That includes an adapter box that could add AirPlay functionality to a non-compliant device, together with the underlying pairing, multiple concurrent sessions and application-specific limitations of each peripheral. As ever, there's no telling whether Apple will actually use any of these ideas commercially.
- "Remote Access to Advanced Playlist Features of a Media Player"
- "Accessory and Mobile Computing Device Communication Using an Application Communication Protocol"
- "Application Communication with External Accessories"
- "Detecting and Processing Button Press Events for Performing Electronic Device Operations"
- "Accessory Interface to Portable Media Device Using Sessions"
- "Accessory Identification for Mobile Computing Devices"
- "Accessory Transceiver for Mobile Devices"
- "Accessory Identification for Mobile Devices"
- "Automatic Identification of Compatible Applications and Accessories"
- "Connection to Multiple Accessories with Multiple Accessory-Specific Protocols"
- "Mobile Computing Device Capabilities for Accessories"