Despite the rumor mill's best efforts at pinning Apple down to a "true" media center offering, Apple has seemed content to offer up handy ways to browse you computer's library via Front Row and Apple TV, but not so interested in really going head to head with Windows Media Center Edition or other similar apps. That all might be changing, but it's still a long shot: Apple applied for a patent in 2005, which was just published today, that refers to a media center comprised of a "module controller" and various "media components" working together in glorious harmony. The most optimistic reading of the patent points a sort of modular utopia, where various media components plug into a central hub, letting pretty much anything connected to the network control and display media -- fan faves like the iPhone and Apple TV come quickly to mind. Apple still isn't too explicit about actual inputs, such as DVD, HDTV and HD discs, but we'll keep hoping it figures out the fact that iTunes media purchases don't quite cut it for quenching the average consumer's media thirst.

[Via Unwired View]

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Apple patents a modular media center solution