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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleconsumer electronicsnew york timesremote controlApple 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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?