Home monitoring, control, and automation is one of the more exciting apps for the digital home. We’re just now beginning to understand the value of giving customers the ability to monitor their home in real time from anywhere, or adjust their heating/AC on the fly, remotely unlock the front door, or even control their entertainment options from anywhere in the house, or even out of it. Welcome to the world of the digital home.  The smartphone plays a significant role in this trend, as Verizon’s Eric Bruno told us last year.

Apple is no stranger to the smartphone and a recent patent application demonstrates their desire for the iPhone to become the digital home remote control, of sorts. The Apple Insider reveals some interesting details regarding Apple’s plan, including allowing the iPhone to stop and start television playback automatically. “If, for example, a horror movie is playing on one television and a user moves to another television, the system can recognize the switch and recommend playback be restarted from a selected scene,” reports Mikey Campbell.

As Campbell points out, this is just a patent application, and far from reality on the iPhone. But it does give a hint to what Apple is thinking and how they may position the iPhone as a tool to control a subscriber’s digital home (and life for that matter).

It also points out a race of sorts, in terms of who is going to enable customers to best control their digital lifestyle. Will it be consumer electronics manufacturers like Apple and Samsung? Or will it be service providers who offer their own apps to do the same (and generate revenue as a result). Could this Apple idea one day replace Comcast’s or Verizon’s home control and monitoring service? Perhaps.

There certainly are a number of other apps that already accomplish elements of digital home control. But if Apple makes it native to the iPhone, perhaps it changes the game and more favorably tilts this business opportunity in their direction.