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Apple working on its own Wiimote?

A patent filing disclosed this week describes a device that would work similarly to the Nintendo Wii controller.

Microsoft may not be the only one looking to develop its own Wiimote-like game controller. Apple is researching a 3D remote of its own, according to AppleInsider.

The Apple TV and its current remote control. Apple

The research, reportedly outlined in a November 2006 patent filing disclosed this week, describes a device that would work similarly to the Nintendo Wii controller "in video games to position a user's character or to otherwise track the movement of the remote control in a user's environment." The remote would apparently be designed to work with Apple TV as its console.

The device would also use some of the multitouch features seen on other Apple products, including the iPhone and MacBooks. According to the filing, it would "zoom into and out of an image or a portion thereof based on the absolute position of the remote control."

Patent filings are never any guarantee of actual products, of course. But there will be particular interest in this one because a move by Apple into the game industry has been rumored--and hoped for, by loyalists--for years. So if nothing else, it will keep that flame alive at least a little while longer.