Apple has a new patent, awarded by the USPTO today (via AppleInsider), which details reverse AirPlay – beaming content from your Apple TV to your iOS device, instead of the other way around. The system details remote viewing for iOS and Apple TV device owners, and also allows for mirroring of the Apple TV interface on the iOS gadget’s screen; which actually helps explain why the company may have revamped the Apple TV interface the way it did with its most recent visual changes.
The Apple patent describes a situation in which a group viewing experience, like a bunch of friends gathering for a party, are watching something via an Apple TV-type central device. When one member leaves, either they stop the movie altogether and wait until they’re all back together again, ro one can take the content with them essentially, streaming it to a secondary device with synchronized playback so that they don’t have to miss out, and the main group can continue without interruption.
Those viewing Apple TV content on remote devices wouldn’t even have to authorize with any passwords, according to the patent, but would instead be able to pop on as guests and then access the content via synced playback once they depart, for a limited time.
The patent would indeed provide a nice additional feature to Apple’s set-top streaming tech, but it would also seem like something that would require green lighting from content providers on the platform. That might be trickier to accomplish, given that the system is providing access to content authorized for one user’s device, to another, even if only in a limited, time-constrained way designed for a single viewing session.
It’s still an interesting big of intellectual property, and one that could indicate Apple has broader plans for a reverse Apple TV mirroring system. If it is still planning a big update to its streamer platform, this would make sense as a potential new feature.