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Apple TV hint pops up in Mountain Lion trademark filing

An Apple trademark application filed in Hong Kong for the name Mountain Lion makes three mentions of TVs. Three!

An Apple trademark application filed in Hong Kong for the name Mountain Lion -- its latest Mac software -- makes three mentions of TVs, which has refuelled speculation that the Californian company could be about to unleash its first gogglebox.

The application, spotted by Patently Apple, covers all the kinds of products Apple thinks Mountain Lion is relevant to, from computers and mobile devices to fax machines, car radios and cameras. So if the application is successful, no one will be able to sell a make of battery or microphone or cassette recorder (seriously) with that name in Hong Kong.

Among the litany of products and software listed are "televisions, television receivers [and] television monitors," and "computer software for use in recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating, and reviewing text, data, audio files, video files and electronic games in connection with computers, televisions [and] television set-top boxes".

Apple has been developing a TV set "with the simplest user interface you could imagine" for some years, as revealed in Steve Jobs' biography. The company already has a product called Apple TV, of course, but it's just a set-top box that basically puts the iTunes store on your telly.

Seasoned industry watchers are giddy with excitement at the idea, with some predicting it will do for TV programmes and movies what the iPod and iPhone have done for music and games -- lead the charge in making them super-easy to stream and download.

Apple also applied for the patent to a USB connector with a new pin arrangement, possibly hinting that the new iPhone or iPad will have a different charger. Why it can't just use micro-USB, I have no idea.

Mountain Lion is the next update to OS X, its computer software. Due out later this month, it adds features such as dictation, Game Center compatibility, iCloud browser syncing and notifications. Apple recently revealed which Macs will be upgradeable to the new software (you can find them listed here). The update isn't free -- it'll cost you £14.

Are you turning cartwheels at the prospect of an Apple TV? Do you spend your free time poring through patent filings? Share your excitement in the comments, or over on our patent-pending Facebook page.