Apple is exploring several ways to simplify the way users can select what they want and then filter it on the device of their choice.
Right now, Apple may want everything you go through the Apple TV app – and it will fail until Netflix joins – but in the future, it bet it can win by simplifying considerably the video. Apple aims to replace our duty to remember which application to launch on which device, then choose which show, and then configure which other device to stream the video to.
Apple has also taken steps in this direction. If you have an Apple TV, you can ask Siri to show you “movies with Reese Witherspoon”, for example. It will then show you a banner with selected films. Click on one of them and it will display a page with details, including where.
This will usually always include the option to purchase the movie or show on iTunes, but it will also search through services such as Disney + if you have a subscription.
However, three separate but linked new patent applications want to go much further. “Predictive Media Routing”, American patent application No. 20200221180, deplores the problem, certainly the first world, of starting a film.
“For example, the user generally opens a software application”, starts the patent application, “select a multimedia content item, select a play button to start playing the locally selected content item on the user device, select another button to indicate that the user wants to stream or send the media to a playback device, browse a list of available playback devices and select a playback device to have the user device start streaming or send the selected content item to the selected remote playback device. ”
It’s as if it really bothers the 11 credited inventors, who quite unusually include Craig Federighi. “This multi-input process of getting media to a playback device can be cumbersome, time consuming and frustrating,” says the application, as it calms down.
Detail from one of the patents showing how devices can make decisions to save the user time
Similar “microlocation-based predictive routing”, US Patent Application No. 20200221366, also wants to start by making it easier to find what is needed among the many applications that a user may have.
“[An] the application can be designed to play media (for example, music, videos, etc.), control the operation of a remote device (such as a TV or speaker), manage connections with other users, etc., “he says.” The number of apps that are stored and running on mobile devices are increasing. For example, it’s not uncommon for mobile devices to store hundreds of apps to run on them. ”
“Although the storage of many applications can make a mobile device particularly useful to the user,” he continues, “it can be difficult and time consuming for the user to identify and run an application or a particular function wanted among all the available applications stored. on the mobile device. ”
This particular patent application describes a way to have your devices determine which application you want to broadcast on which screen. Using Machine Learning, Apple devices could predict what you want in a similar way to how all of your Apple equipment calculates which one you’re talking to when you say “Hey Siri.”
Maybe you still have “Star Trek: Discovery” via the CBS app on your iPhone, and every week you stream it on Apple TV in your lair. Apple devices can save you from having to launch this app or using AirPlay to stream it.
“In certain cases, the medium can be automatically routed to the predetermined device (as soon as the user requests the reading of the medium)”, indicates the patent application.
A third patent application, “Content Playback on Multiple Devices”, US Patent Application No. 20200221155, also examines the whole question of how many buttons a user has to press to start something. But that suggests skipping the buttons completely and using only the voice.
It’s more complicated than it seems, however. It’s not just about making Siri recognize the screen you want to use when you ask for Monday Night Football.
Detail from one of the patent applications showing familiar playback controls and an indication of where the video is played
“For example, a user may wish to transfer the playback of the media being played from a first device to a second device, such as a mobile phone to a TV,” explains this application. “In addition, the user can ambiguously refer to content and devices using references such as” this “or” that “, resulting in failed attempts to read the desired content.”
This patent application and the two other related patent applications are, as always in this form of document, long in covering all possible permutations of ideas, but short of specific details. In the three, however, there are 23 different inventors, which is far from a pastime at Apple.