A new Apple patent (number 20110303741) at the US Patent & Trademark Office shows that the company is working on a system that would detect an external device and recommend compatible applications available on the Apple App Store-- and perhaps the Mac App Store.
A method for identifying an application usable with an accessory is provided. The method includes receiving an accessory identifier associated with the accessory, identifying an application protocol associated with the accessory identifier, identifying an application that supports the application protocol, and providing information about the application to a user device. A method for identifying an accessory usable with an application is also provided.
The method includes receiving information about an application, determining an application protocol associated with the application, determining an accessory that supports the application protocol, and providing information about the accessory to a user device. The inventors are Lawrence G. Bolton, Peter T. Langenfield and Shyam S. Toprani.
Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Consumers are increasingly demanding devices that can perform multiple tasks. Recent advancements in smart phones and other portable communication devices are geared towards making these devices as versatile as possible.
"In many instances, these consumer devices have to work in conjunction with other devices to realize expanded functionalities. Such other devices are commonly referred to as accessories. An accessory usually performs some specialized function in conjunction with the consumer device. For example, a consumer device having music playback capability can be connected to external speakers for music playback since the speakers of the consumer device itself may not be powerful enough for music playback. There are numerous accessories that are being sold in the market today for use with such consumer devices.
"An accessory may need a software application for control and operation of the accessory. With the number of available accessories growing at an exponential rate, it is often difficult for a user to determine which accessory supports which software application and vice versa.
"Certain embodiments of the present invention provide system and methods for locating an application based on information about the accessory. In some embodiments, an application and accessory determination server receives information about an accessory. The application and accessory determination server then determines an application protocol that corresponds to the accessory. Based on that determination, the application and accessory determination server determines one or more applications that correspond to the application protocol. This information can then be provided to the user via a user device.
"In other embodiments, a method for locating an accessory is provided. In this instance, the application and accessory determination server receives information about an application. Based on this information, the application and accessory determination server determines one or more application protocols that the application supports. Thereafter, the application and accessory determination server checks to see whether there are any accessories that support the one or more application protocols."
-- Dennis Sellers