Could Apple be about to take aim at Nintendo's gaming market share by introducing a Wii-like games console of its own?

As unlikely as it is, that's one conclusion that can be drawn from the discovery that Apple has a Wiimote-style controller on the patent books in the US.

Infrared modules

The so-called 'Wand' is described in a May 2008 patent that has just been dug up by Apple Insider.

The sometimes arcane language describes, "an optical component for capturing images [from] infrared modules, [which] may calculate its orientation and distance from the modules based on the captured images."

In other words, it sounds like a Wiimote that needs to be paired with a sensor bar or other source of infrared light for position finding.

Media-centric?

However, a large portion of the patent describes how the Wand might be used to navigate an interface with a single button click that brings up contextual menus instead of having dedicated buttons for each action.

That sounds to us a lot more like a better controller for a media centre like Apple's Front Row. It may be a step up from the current Apple Remote but we're betting it doesn't have a lot to do with games.