A new patent application suggests that Apple may be preparing to bring its Touch ID system to the Apple TV remote, reports Patently Apple.
The patent depicts a remote control device with a single button in its center that features an embedded fingerprint sensor; and it’s used to operate a connected television set. The sensor would allow the system to identify the user, and could customize functionality accordingly, for example by restricting which TV channels can be viewed when an authorized child is using the remote.
While Apple is thought to be preparing a TV service to compete with the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, as Patently Apple notes, the patent emphasizes that a television is used as an example only, and that the biometric remote could be used with a range of devices. Indeed, the remote itself is also just an example, and could instead be something like a stylus or a wearable or a tablet, so long as it features an embedded fingerprint sensor and is designed to control a paired device. Even the fingerprint sensor is just a stand-in for any number of biometric modalities, with the patent leaving room for others as Apple prepares to introduce a facial recognition system for this year’s big iPhone.
If it sounds like Apple is hedging its bets here, that’s par for the course when it comes to the company’s IP portfolio in general; and the existence of this patent does not guarantee that such a system will be realized in a future product. Nevertheless, the patent was just filed in Q2 of this year, which could mean that Apple is currently working on putting it to use.
Source: Patently Apple