Six years ago, Apple tried to patent a harmless looking menu for navigating videos. Today, it got that patent. What's happened in those six years? Apple's poised to become the biggest TV company in the world—now we're seeing how.
The patent, granted for "generating a menu in a video environment for video that can be display [sic] in one or more contexts." English translation: one TV menu to rule them all, just like Apple's TV remote is a gorgeous masterwork of minimalism. It also reveals an ambition we've all surmised: Apple wants you to watch TV channels on its little black box, not the big one you get from your cable or satellite provider. The patent illustrations clearly show a means of navigating between (and recording) networks like CBS and NBC, as well as universal icons for tasks like deleting and searching. This is from six years ago, and looks about as rough as most patent mockups do, but it's a delicious hint at what's to come from our favorite TV set that doesn't exist yet. Read the full patent application below. [CNET]