The Apple TV 4K, Apple's streaming device, is definitely a handy product. It's quite a disappointment, though, is the accompanying remote is nothing to get excited about. The good news is that a new third-party remote has been developed to replace the Apple TV remote. The bad news is that it won't be as easy to get as you may be hoping.
The Good News About the New Apple TV Remote
What's wrong with the existing Apple TV remote? Plenty. It's far too simple. Sometimes simplicity is best - but not in his case. The five buttons on the remote are just not enough. This is added to the fact that it's too small and slim. Forget it if you drop it while sitting on the couch. You may never fish it out of the couch cushions. It needs to be a device that you can locate in the "Find My" app.
Universal Electronics is making an Apple TV remote to replace the existing one. It features a directional pad instead of a touchpad like the current remote, while also including buttons for pause, fast forward, and rewind. It looks more sizable as well, making it less likely to get lost.
Additionally, the remote has advanced search and control to work along with Siri on live TV and streaming apps, just like the Apple remote. Other third-party remotes that are offered don't include this. And that's a necessity for Apple remotes - it's a necessity on any Apple product.
The remote is also different in the way it communicates with the Apple TV device. The others do so via the less-reliable infrared, while the Universal Remote supports Bluetooth control.
It features enhanced controls for live TV and whole entertainment system control. You'll also be able to control televisions and audio devices from other manufacturers. It has reliable and secure communication, as it connects through a BLE chipset and Apple's MFi authentication chip.
There is an enhanced tactile feedback for a better ergonomic fit and feel in your hand. An accelerometer and ambient light sensor automatically backlight keys in low-light situations when it's picked up or moved.
And the Bad News
It sounds so great, but the problem is, you won't be able to buy it. It's not being offered anywhere in a store for existing Apple TV users. Universal Electronics is instead planning to sell branded versions of the remote to cable companies so that they can adopt it as the remote if they choose to distribute Apple TVs with the service instead of cable boxes.
It makes it a depressing thought that we could have a better remote but won't because Apple, for some reason, has neglected to ever improve the remote. Maybe it's because official Apple replacements are very pricey, so they don't stand to gain much by improving it
But with a new Apple TV being rumored for some time, maybe Apple will finally wise up and improve its own remote. The existing remote just isn't innovative in the least, which doesn't match up with Apple's usual feature-set, yet the simplicity of it does
In the meantime, try one of these solutions if you have lost your Apple TV remote somewhere deep within your couch cushions.
Image Credit: Universal Electronics and public domain.
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