Apple patents relate to Apple TV, iTunes, iTV
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Apple patents relate to Apple TV, iTunes, iTV

Apple has been granted two patents by the US Patent & Trademark Office for the Apple TV (referred to as the iTV in the patents) and iTunes. They could also relate to the rumored HDTV Apple is working on, if you buy into those rumors.

Patent number 7930650 is for an user interface with menu abstractions and content abstractions. Per the patent media menu items are generated within a media interface environment. Media menu item abstractions are generated, one of the media menu item abstractions arranged in a foreground position, and one or more of the media menu item abstractions arranged in background positions in the media interface environment. Selection of a media menu items transitions to a corresponding content menu interface. The inventors are Rainer Brodersen, Rachel Claire Goldeen, Jeffrey Ma, Mihnea Calin Pacurariu, Eric Taylor Seymour, Jeff Robbin and Thomas Micheal Madden.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Media devices, such as digital video and audio platers, can include multiple functions and capabilities, such as playing stored content, browsing and selecting from recorded content, storing and/or receiving content selected by a user, and the like. These various functions can often be grouped according to content types, e.g., movies, music, television programs, photos, etc. The functions can then be accessed through various user interfaces are accessible. The user arranged in a hierarchical manner, having a “root” or “home” user interface at the top of the hierarchy, from which the various context-dependent user interfaces are accessible. The user interfaces can include both graphical and textual features. It is desirable that the user interface conveys information to the user in an intuitive manner, and readily provides access to various functions.

"Disclosed herein are systems and methods for processing a media user interface. In one example implementation, a media menu interface comprising a plurality of media menu items is generated. One or more of the media menu items can be highlighted. A plurality of media menu item abstractions corresponding to the media menu items is generated, and the media men item abstractions are arranged so that a media menu item abstraction corresponding to a highlighted media menu item is displayed in a foreground position. The media menu item abstractions that do not correspond to the highlighted media menu item are arranged in background positions.

"In another example implementation, a computer readable medium stores instructions that are executable by a processing device. Upon execution of the instructions, the processing device generates a home interface environment, and generates a home Menu within the home interface environment. The home menu comprises a plurality of home menu items. The processing device also generates a plurality home menu item abstractions, and one of the home menu item abstractions is arranged in a foreground position while the remaining home menu item abstractions are arranged in background positions in the home interface environment. The foreground positions and background positions define a multidimensional path extending from a terminus."

Patent number 7930369 involves a remotely configured media device. Improved techniques for controlling operation of a portable electronic device are disclosed. Portable electronic devices which interact with a host electronic device can have their operational settings (e.g., configurations or preferences) remotely controlled. As a result, a host electronic device can offer a more sophisticated user interface and portable electronic devices need less local user interface features because these operational settings can be remotely controlled. The remotely-controlled (i.e., host controlled) operational settings are transferred to the portable electronic devices, whereby the portable electronic devices can thereafter operate in accordance with such settings. The inventors are Greg Marriott and Andrew Bert Hodge.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Today, portable media devices, such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) or hand-held media players, are battery powered and include various user interface components, such as displays and switches/buttons. Conventionally, portable media devices use buttons, dials or touchpads together with graphical user interfaces to control the devices, including setting of user preferences for use by the devices. These portable media devices continue to get smaller and more portable. At the same time, the functionality supported by portable media devices is increasing. Consequently, as portable media devices get smaller while supporting robust functionality, there are increasing difficulties in providing adequate user interfaces for the portable media devices. Accordingly, there is a need for improved user interface capabilities for portable media players.

"The invention relates to improved techniques for controlling operation of a portable electronic device. According to the invention, portable electronic devices which interact with a host electronic device can have their operational settings (e.g., configurations or preferences) remotely controlled. As a result, a host electronic device can offer a more sophisticated user interface and portable electronic devices need less local user interface features because these operational settings can be remotely controlled. The remotely-controlled (i.e., host controlled) operational settings are transferred to the portable electronic devices, whereby the portable electronic devices can thereafter operate in accordance with such settings.

"The invention can be implemented in numerous ways, including as a method, system, device, apparatus, or computer readable medium. Several embodiments of the invention are discussed below.

"As a method for remotely providing operational settings from a host electronic device to a client electronic device, the host electronic device having a display, one embodiment of the invention includes at least the acts of: presenting a user interface on the display of the host electronic device, the user interface permitting a user of the host electronic device to select operational settings for use with the client electronic device; receiving a user selection of at least one operational setting for the client electronic device, the user selection being from the user while interacting with the user interface on the host electronic device; and transferring the at least one operational setting from the host electronic device to the client electronic device, whereby the client electronic device stores the at least one operational setting and thereafter operates in accordance with the stored at least one operational setting.

"As a method for operating a portable media player in accordance with operational settings, one embodiment of the invention includes at least the acts of: receiving operational settings data from a host computer over a data link between the portable media player and the host computer; storing the operational settings data at the portable media player; and operating a media management application on the portable media player in accordance with the stored operational settings data.

"As a computer readable medium including at least computer program code for remotely providing operational settings from a host device to a client device, one embodiment of the invention includes at least: computer program code for presenting a user interface on a display of the host device, the user interface permitting a user of the host device to select operational settings for use with the client device; computer program code for receiving a user selection of at least one operational setting for the client device, the user selection being from the user while interacting with the user interface on the host device; and computer program code for transferring the at least one operational setting from the host device to the client device, whereby the client device stores the at least one operational setting and thereafter operates in accordance with the stored at least one operational setting.

"As a computer readable medium including at least computer program code for operating a portable media player in accordance with operational settings, one embodiment of the invention includes at least: computer program code for receiving operational settings data from a host computer over a data link between the portable media player and the host computer; computer program code for storing the operational settings data at the portable media player; and computer program code for operating a media management application on the portable media player in accordance with the stored operational settings data.

"As a portable media player for storing and presenting media assets, one embodiment of the invention includes at least: an input/output interface that provides a data connection with a remote computing device; at least one data storage device that stores the media assets and operational settings data, the media assets and the operational settings data being provided over the data connection from the remote computing device; and a media management application that presents one or more of the media assets in accordance with the operational settings data.

"As a media system, one embodiment of the invention includes a host computer for storing and presenting host media assets, and a client media player for storing and presenting client media assets. The host computer includes at least: a host input/output interface that provides connection with the client media player; a host media management application that (i) enables a user of the host computer to set user preferences to be used on the client media player, and (ii) transfers one or more of the host media assets from the host computer to become the client media assets at the client media player; and at least one host data storage device that stores the host media assets and the user preferences for the client media player, the user preferences being set by a user of the host computer using the media management application.

"The client media player includes at least: a client input/output interface that provides connection with the host computer; at least one client data storage device that stores the client media assets and the user preferences, the user preferences being provided over the connection from the host computer; and a client media management application that presents one or more of the client media assets at the client media player in accordance with the user preferences."

-- Dennis Sellers

 
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