Friends, family, past and current Apple TV users, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of the very best remote for streaming.
Apple earlier this week unveiled its new Apple TV 4K, the next-generation set-top box that will replace Apple’s previous product of the same name. While this new box will see some exciting upgrades over its predecessor—more power with the A12 Bionic chip, as well as nifty calibration features for adjusting the picture on your TV using an iPhone—I was devastated by the reveal of a new, touchpad-less Siri remote.
Indeed, Apple’s newest remote will likely fix some of the most controversial fixtures of the previous Apple TV remote. For one, it has a larger form factor and thicker, all-aluminum body, which should make it slightly easier to find between the cushions. It also adds a number of buttons and moves the Siri button prompt to the remote’s right side, sort of like on the iPhone. These things are all fine.
But I am personally wrecked over Apple’s choice to swap the touchpad—the best and most misunderstood fixture of the black Apple TV remote—for a clickpad that supports a circular gesture for jogging through content. It is still touch-enabled, but I cannot imagine it produces the same experience as having the entire top of the remote devoted to touch, a thing I adored about the previous Apple TV remote over any other out-of-the-box streaming wand.
The touchpad made the experience for me, personally. It was perfect for skipping over content, which is a thing I find myself doing often. Other streaming remotes, like that of the Chromecast with Google TV (which I love), often feel cheap and poorly designed by comparison. In the past, I’ve been able to sway some of the Apple TV remote’s harshest critics (my own colleagues), by reminding them that the touchpad speed could be adjusted for greater control.
I am, of course, eager to experience the new Apple TV 4K—aluminum remote and all. But I know that every time I reach for it, I’ll be thinking not of the remote in my hand but of the one that came before it. It provided the perfect streaming experience. Dare I say, it was one of my great gadget loves.
Pour one out for the Apple TV remote of my dreams. May it rest peacefully and find the appreciation it so deserved in the great gadget afterlife.