The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published a patent filed by Apple back in September 2008 which describes the "systems and methods for saving and restoring scenes in a multimedia system" (via AppleInsider). Patent number 8,519,820, which lists Alan Cannistraro, a developer who worked on the original iTunes Remote application for iOS devices, appears to show an intelligent universal remote on a generic Apple device that can connect to a variety of audio-visual components around the user's home or workplace. The system is also capable of connecting to various "smart home" devices such as thermostats, lights and window blinds using either a wireless network, Bluetooth or a a similar wireless protocol.
According to the patent, Apple's system would allow users to control all of their connected devices, and would receive signals from each device based on its current operating state. The system proposed by Apple would automatically recognize each device, with data being transmitted over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or a similar wireless protocol.
The system can also detect individual usage patterns and tailor the components to individual requirements. The patent lists an example of a horror movie — a user may want a certain combination of lighting — and this would be recognised by the system. It can also search a list of pre-defined settings that best suits the genre and users will have the option to either accept or reject a suggestion. The patent also describes a system whereby users can stop and restart media when they move around the house — for example, when they move to a room containing another television.
Although the patent was filed back in September 2008, the technology has not yet been implemented on any iOS device. It would also require significant hardware and software commitments by the manufacturers of home audio and visual components, as well as the manufacturers of various "smart home" devices.