MacDirectory Magazine

Rachel Gray

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 15 of 139

Apple Is Working on a Big New Apple TV Remote By Jesse Hollington At this point, Apple’s set-top box, the Apple TV, has easily become the oldest product that the company is still selling, but it looks like a new model may finally be getting closer. We’ve heard rumours about a new Apple TV in the works for at least a year now, but like other recent Apple product rumours, we keep expecting to see a new version of the device show up at the next Apple event, only to be disappointed when there’s nary a peep about it at all. Now, however, it looks like 9to5Mac has gotten an inside scoop that Apple is working on a whole new remote for the Apple TV, adding more fuel to the fire that Apple could be planning to unveil it soon. According to 9to5Mac’s sources, the new remote is being developed under the code name “B519” which differs from the current Siri Remote, which has been internally identified as “B439.” The Siri Remote has remained basically unchanged since Apple debuted it with the fourth-generation Apple TV back in 2015. When Apple released the Apple TV 4K in 2017, it tweaked the design of the remote to highlight the menu button with a white circle, but it otherwise remained the same as the version that came before. Last week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser pored through the code in the fifth beta of tvOS 14.5 and discovered that Apple had removed all references to “Siri Remote,” changing them instead to “Apple TV Remote.” While the move may have just been made for consistency — the “Siri Remote” name is only used in those countries where Siri is supported on the Apple TV, while “Apple TV Remote” is used elsewhere — it seemed like an odd change. New Features? Now, with the new information gleaned by 9to5Mac, the timing seems all the more interesting. Plus, as the report notes, while the 2017 white-ringed B439 version of the remote was a minor version bump from the earlier 2015 one, the “B519” numbering is a much bigger leap, suggesting the changes will be more significant. Last fall, a report from Bloomberg suggested that the new remote would incorporate support for Apple’s Find My app, which seems all the more likely now that Apple is putting so much work into item tracking technology. Really, it’s a feature that’s long overdue, considering how easy it is to misplace the diminutive Siri Remote. We’ve always found it odd that Apple didn’t at least offer some kind of audible ping notification from the very start. However, it’s possible that Find My will take it beyond simply letting you emit a sound, quite possibly adding ultra wideband support to allow users to track its specific location in a room. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have much information on what the new remote will actually look like, so it’s hard to say whether Apple is only packing in new technologies or considering a whole new design. The current Siri Remote has been somewhat controversial — most users either love it for its minimalist design and touch surface or hate it for a lack of physical navigation buttons and difficulty in figuring out which way to hold it. When’s It Coming? At this point we’re hesitant to make any real predictions, since we’ve been hearing about a new Apple TV just around the corner for a long time. We actually expected a new Apple TV back in 2019, since it had been two years since the prior Apple TV 4K had landed, and the debut of Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade seemed like the perfect time to unveil a new set-top box to go along with those services. Then in early 2020, 9to5Mac found code in tvOS 13 that actually identified a new, unknown Apple TV device, also suggesting that it was likely to include Apple’s newer A12 chip. This led to speculation that Apple may have been preparing to unveil the new set-top box at WWDC 2020, but alas that event — and the entire year — came and went without the company even mentioning the device. Last year, however, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg pegged 2021 as a release year for the new Apple TV, while also suggesting that it would gain a stronger focus on gaming performance. This was followed by another report that suggested Apple was actually working on two new Apple TV models, with a lower-end A12-equipped model for home streaming and casual gaming, plus an “A14X-like” version that would offer an unprecedented level of power geared toward serious gaming. What was far less clear, however, was whether these were going to be two products, or were simply different prototypes for whatever the next-generation Apple TV will become. At the time, some still suspected that the A12 version was going to arrive last fall, and that it was the more powerful gaming version that was being held off into 2021. At this point, however, it’s hard to say what’s really going on. In fact, this latest report about the remote is the only solid information we’ve heard lately on what Apple is up to on that front. However, since it seems very unlikely that Apple is just going to release a new remote by itself, it’s a safe bet that this is an indication that work on the next version of the set-top box is continuing.

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