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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags remote controlnew york timesAppleconsumer electronicsApple TV

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

Jared Newman

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?