To say the Apple TV remote is polarizing is an understatement. On the one side, you have the stans who claim this is the best streaming remote ever made. On the other, the haters cite the remote’s touchpad and overall UI as an unforgivable affront to gadget design. But, per 9to5 Mac, Apple is currently working on updating the much-maligned remote for the rumored next-gen Apple TV.
To be fair, it’s unclear what exactly those updates will be. The report from 9to5 Mac cites unnamed Apple sources, but the most concrete detail is that the new remote has the internal code name B519. The current remote is internally known as B439, so the higher number may indicate that Apple’s done some significant tinkering. MacRumors has also reported last week that in the tvOS 14.5 beta, Apple switched the name from “Siri Remote” to “Apple TV remote.” The beta also renames the “Home Button” to “TV Button.” These are small changes for sure, but combined with the 9to5 Mac report, it strongly suggests that we’ll be seeing a new remote whenever Apple decides to launch the new Apple TV. (There were rumors of a March event, but it now appears that April is more likely.)
Another Bloomberg report from September also offers some clues. In it, noted Apple prognosticator Mark Gurman posits that the new Apple TV will sport a faster processor for gaming and that the “upgraded” remote may have a feature similar to Find My iPhone. Which, if you’ve ever had an Apple TV remote, you know how easy it is to lose between the couch cushions. That alone would be a useful update.
As someone who has a love-hate relationship with my Apple TV remote, a redesign has been a long time coming. While I’ll admit adjusting the touchpad sensitivity helped, 9 out of 10 times I pick up the remote the wrong way due to the symmetrical design. I wouldn’t complain if the company also got rid of the glass so I don’t panic every time I drop it on a hard surface. And while the Apple TV remote has never been particularly great, reports of a “significant” upgrade at least spur some hope that Apple’s listened to feedback.
Unfortunately, this is also Apple. Even if the upgraded remote is the best damn thing to grace streaming, it’ll also likely cost approximately $10,000 to replace. Given Apple’s track record, there’s also a decent chance it’ll be pretty to look at, but not exactly sturdy. Meaning, you’ll still probably panic every time you can’t find it or drop it. But hey, you can’t win ‘em all.