In a filing published with the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple has proposed a "TV side bar user interface" in which a panel on the screen can be used to drill down to specific categories and types of content.
The patent tries to make the interface more user-friendly, a problem which is one of the key challenges of developing a video streaming service which is meant to work in tandem with live television, allowing users to see all of the available channels before deciding what to watch. The patent described an interface that manages content from multiple sources, from live streaming TV to video services such as Netflix.
Apple outlined the reason for the interface was the fact that viewers today are presented with too much choice.
"While the explosion of video content providers in the marketplace may seem a boon for viewer's, the large number of choices and providers complicates the viewing experience," the patent explained.
The patent suggested introducing a side bar that includes a list a list of items for viewers selection including: "Favorites", "Friends" and "Recently Watched". To give two examples, the "Favorites" section would provide a list of shows the user has previously watched, allowing them to select the next episode, while the "Friends" interface would share the users' friends viewing habits.
As it makes a concerted push to diversify its offerings in the wake of falling iPhone sales, Apple has been eyeing the TV streaming market and has been working to create original video content. It is unclear what form this will take, but it is rumored to be working on a rival service to Netflix and Amazon Prime. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently confirmed the company's commitment to creating original content.
"We will participate in the original content world. We've signed a multi-year partnership with Oprah," Cook said. "Today I'm not really ready to extend that conversation beyond that point. We've hired some people we have a super amount of confidence in. They're working on that really hard. We'll have more to say on that later."
Despite the fact it looks like the company is becoming more and more invested in creating its own service, investment bankers at JPMorgan this week advised that Apple should buy Netflix for around $189bn.