Apple watchers are currently focused on dreams of the Apple Tablet but Apple’s patents reveal some other interesting developments. One of its latest shows Apple’s toying with a smart home energy system that will let you monitor your energy consumption and stream iTunes content through your power sockets.
Apple’s smart home energy system patent shows plans to use HomePlug Powerline Networking which turns power outlets into conduits for audio, video and other data. Using that system would allow you to stream iTunes content around your home and see realtime energy use data.
The patent shows a touchscreen controller at the heart of the system. It could be an iPod Touch, an iPhone or, inevitably, the Apple Tablet. Another interesting element of the patent is a reference to “a projections system for providing a display of content on a surface remote from the electronic device”. That suggest sticking a pico-projector into the system.
Lots of companies are currently developing smart home energy systems including Intel which demonstrated its own ideas during its CES 2010 presentation. But with the Apple Tablet seemingly a certainty, using it as a central controller for all your entertainment systems and an energy monitor seems like a brilliant idea.