An upcoming update to the iPhone’s Remote app will let it completely control your Apple TV.
We’re looking forward to this because while we love the Siri Remote that comes with Apple’s latest streaming box, it has a few problems. First, it’s tiny, and we’ve discovered it wedged inside the absolute farthest and darkest corners of our couches far too often. It’s also covered in glass, and while we know that it’s really strong glass, we’re slightly afraid of breaking it because see Point 1: It’s just a little thing.
Third, if the worst happens and we do lose or break our Siri Remote, a replacement costs $79, and then the anxiety starts all over again.
In other words, bring on the update, Apple.
We received the good news from some guys who would know: Eddy Cue (Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services) and Craig Federighi (senior vice president of software engineering). They joined host John Gruber on the latest episode of his podcast, The Talk Show. We recommend you listen to the whole thing, but the following exchange really got our attention:
Cue: We do have something a little bit better coming out in a few months, which is we have a new Remote app so that if you have your iPhone, you can use the keyboard on the iPhone to [enter text instead of using the Siri Remote’s wonky touchpad], and I think that certainly will get a lot more use.
Federighi: And more than that, really; the full Siri to your phone, communicating with your TV. That’s a great upgrade to that app.
Gruber: Well, there’s a Remote app for the iPhone now that you can connect to Apple TV.
Cue: There is. As Craig said, it only does the keyboard. The new Remote app will do all of the capabilities that the existing, new Apple TV remote does, like Siri.
Federighi: And like gestures, for instance. Because obviously the trackpad function of the remote can be done with your phone now, too, with that Remote, so it’s a really full replacement.
The two Apple execs also revealed that the iPhone’s new bag of Apple TV tricks will extend into multiplayer gaming, with one person using the Siri Remote and another using the Remote app on their iPhone.
And despite our excitement about the pressure and responsibility of Siri Remote ownership finally easing up a little, we couldn’t help but notice that this was a surprising amount of openness from the usually secretive Apple. It’s not so much that we expected the company to hold a special event to unveil an app update, but the fact that they’re talking about anything that’s still months off is really something different.