Apple Patent Update: Newly Uncovered Patent Provides Glimpse into Apple TV’s Future

Here’s another delightful piece of Apple patent-related news guaranteed to whet your appetite for new and/or unreleased product, in this case the next-generation Apple TV.

According to the patent-centric site Patently Apple, the Cupertino iPhone and iPad-maker had a patent approved that would provide users with a more organized and easy-to-operate menu, as well as a way to record video on the device. As depicted on the illustrations on the website, the patent involves the use of a dock reminiscent of the one you see on Mac OS X, and a menu located on the right hand side.

The menu should make it easier to switch channels and view what’s on each different channel, and the record button on the dock would, as we surmise, give the Apple TV TiVo-like functionality.

Despite the presence of the menu, viewers shouldn’t be distracted too much; they would still be able to watch their favorite programs without any compromise in quality. This is just like what is currently on the present-generation Apple TV – while you’re using the menu on the right hand side, the TV show or movie you’re watching will scroll to the left.

If you’ve read Steve Jobs’ excellent biography by Walter Isaacson, one of his most memorable statements was having announced that he had “cracked the secret of TV.” Prior to Jobs’ passing, he had rejected a proposed second iteration of the Apple TV, so it’s clear that wasn’t what he meant by cracking the secret.

While this patent doesn’t seem to bring things that much closer to Jobs’ vision, it’s a convenient potential feature we can look forward to once the new Apple TV hits stores, probably next year.