Touch ID will let your Apple TV know which family member is watching.

Apple's new improved TV could be coming as early as this fall.

Apple could opt to include a Touch ID fingerprint sensor in its new Apple TV remote, according to a patent application published today.

Unlike the iPhone and iPad, however, this sensor wouldn’t be used for unlocking your device, but rather quickly making it aware of who is watching at any given time — thereby letting Apple’s long-awaited TV configure volume, screen brightness, and suggested channels on a person-by-person basis. Smart, eh?

Touch ID could become the most important button on your Apple TV.

In other scenarios, Touch ID-style functionality could also be used to access channels which might require a passcode for access. Were the Apple TV to become the hub of the smart home, as some reports have suggested, this fingerprint sensor could additionally activate or deactivate alarms.

Previous stories about the Apple TV remote — which Steve Jobs told Walter Isaacson would be part of the “simplest user interface you could imagine” — call for a motion-sensitive magic wand-style device that could be used for zooming in and out, accessing a keyboard, carrying out photo editing, and possibly gaming.

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