Apple's iPhone: The Tech Titan's Secret Weapon for TV

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple's iPhone is a lot of things: the tech giant's chief revenue driver; an iconic smartphone; a device that revolutionized an industry. Now, it may be poised to revolutionize another industry and be Apple's secret weapon in the television market.

An Apple patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will allow the iPhone to essentially work as a television and smart home remote, allowing users to manage and recall entertainment.

"Systems and methods for saving and restoring scenes in a multimedia system with minimal configuration are provided," the patent filing stated. "The techniques of the present invention can allow the states of the components in the multimedia system to be captured in a scene. Once the scene has been saved, the scene can be restored at a later time. A remote control system for recommending scenes by comparing states of components in the current scene with states of components in saved scenes is also provided. The remote control system can also recommend scenes based on usage patterns. Moreover, the remote control system can allow users to designate one or more saved scenes as favorite scenes."

The patent was first filed five years ago, but was only granted Tuesday, as the company continues to figure out its living room strategy. The inventor on the patent, Alan Cannistraro, is the developer who is responsible for coding the first iTunes Remote app as well.

This patent allows the iPhone to not only control a television, change a scene or play a game, but it can also be a home theater remote. In his biography, Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that there should be no need for several remotes, that one could do the job. "There's no reason you should have all these complicated remote controls," Jobs said to Isaacson.

Apple has long hinted that its plans for the television market are grander than what we see currently. The Apple TV device, which sells for $99, has recently been improved by getting access to the HBO Go and WatchESPN apps on its platform.