New Apple TV might have a touch pad remote

The remote control on the next Apple TV will reportedly trade an ultra-svelte figure for one that supports touch controls.

Citing an unnamed "employee briefed on the product," the New York Times claims that the Apple TV remote will include a touch pad for scrolling through menus, and will also have two physical buttons. As a result, the remote will be chunkier than the existing version (pictured above), with a similar thickness to the remote for Amazon's Echo speaker.

Apple hasn't revised the Apple TV remote since 2010, when the company switched to a smaller set-top box running iOS instead of a modified OS X. While most set-top box remotes use AAA batteries, the Apple TV remote uses a coin cell battery, allowing it to be much thinner. It's also more sparsely-equipped than other remotes, with only a directional pad and buttons for selection, menu, and pause/play.

With a major revamp for the Apple TV hardware reportedly on the way, it appears Apple is rethinking its approach to television input. The new set-top box is rumored to have Siri voice commands, HomeKit smart home controls, and a full-blown App Store, but no 4K streaming support.

While it's unclear exactly how touch controls would work, Daring Fireball's John Gruber speculates that Apple could use the same haptic feedback and pressure-sensitive "Force Touch" controls that appear in the new MacBook. For instance, users could potential feel when their finger passes over a menu item, and press harder to speed up rewind and fast forward controls.

Why this matters: The idea of putting a touch pad onto a television remote isn't new. Several remotes for the failed Google TV included trackpads, and keyboards will built-in trackpads are readily available for home theater PC setups. But the execution has never quite worked, as you need to train your eyes on a small cursor and move your finger with pinpoint precision. If the Times' report is correct, hopefully Apple's marriage of hardware and software can produce something better.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags remote controlnew york timesAppleconsumer electronicsApple TV

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?