In October of 2015, Apple released a long expected hardware update to the Apple TV and with it, a shiny new Apple TV Remote. You can speak to remote to give voice instructions “Siri, play Pitch Perfect 2. Yes, again. Do not judge me, Siri. You don’t know me” and flick around a built in trackpad for fast navigation.
But for long time Apple TV users observed something quick: Apple’s Remote App for the iPhone, which permitted you to control the Apple TV with your iPhone when the dedicated remote was not handy and wasn’t keeping up with the new feature set. Simple functionality (like using the iPhone as a keyboard) operated but all of the attractive new stuff was missing.
It sounds like that’ll be altering shortly. In an interview with John Gruber, Apple’s Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue laid out some details of a coming Remote app update:
We have a new remote app. if you have an iphone, you can use the keyboard on the iPhone, (Eddy Cue).
And more than that, really… there’s full Siri, from your phone, communicating to your TV. That’s a great upgrade to that app, (Craig).
Well, there’s a remote app [already] for the iPhone now that you can connect to AppleTV, (Gruber).
There is. As Craig said, it only does the keyboard… the new remote app will have all the capabilities of the new Apple TV remote does, like Siri (Eddy).
And obviously, you have the trackpad function of the remote — you’ll be able to do that with the phone. It’s really a full replacement, (Craig).
Will it work with some of the games? So if there’s a 2 player game, somebody can use their phone, someone else can use the remote? (Gruber).
Yep that’s exactly it. Remote for one person, phone for one person (Eddy).
It is actually fairly surprising to hear Federighi talk and Cue so openly about new stuff in the pipeline; by tradition, Apple aimed to keep even the minutest of details key and under lock. Between this and opening of iOS betas to the public, it is as if someone at Apple said “Maybe… maybe we don’t have to be quite so cautious…”
Want to hear it for yourself? The relevant bit begins at 22:10 or so in this week’s episode of Gruber’s The Talk Show.
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