New Apple TV expected to feature touchpad remote

“Apple has long ridiculed remote controls for being too complex,” Brian X. Chen reports for The New York Times. “Now after eight years of a minimalist design for its Apple TV remote, the company is revising the device’s design.”

“When Apple introduces its new TV box this summer, the remote control will gain a touch pad and also be slightly thicker than the current version, according to an employee briefed on the product, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the device was confidential,” Chen reports. “The touch pad can be used for scrolling around and there will also be two physical buttons, the person said. The remote’s thicker size is comparable to the remote control for Amazon’s wireless speaker, the Echo, the person added.”

“The new Apple TV is expected to be introduced this June during Apple’s annual conference for software developers, according to the employee briefed on the remote,” Chen reports. “Apple has held talks with a number of leading television groups to offer an Internet-based TV service this year for its Apple TV, iPhone and iPad, according to people briefed on the company’s plans.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we mentioned last month, current Sony 4K TVs are currently shipping with a more rudimentary touchpad remote than the one from Apple as per rumors. You can see Sony’s touchpad remote in action in this video:

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Apple patent application reveals new gesture control pad for future Apple TV remote – April 16, 2015


  1. I have always pictured an iPod Touch like remote with programmable buttons that could be setup any way you want and work with any device in the house. Apple kinda has that with their app, but not to the extent I was thinking. Be nice only have one universal app with the ability to arrange it how you want, etc.

    1. There are apps that have programmable buttons with a IR adaptor to control multiple devices. Works well.
      Still the issue with IR is that you have to point at the device. The Apple remote app is great because it uses wifi. What would be cool is if you could readily search content using the app whilst you watching other content. The app does that partially but not for stuff like netflix etc. The other annoying thing with an iOS device is that you have to keep unlocking the device. The remote app should work even if the device is locked.

  2. 1. Too bad Apple can’t trust their own employees. It’s a shame they feel they have to spill the beans to feel special.

    2. I want this so bad. I have been waiting a long time for a new Apple TV.. I am so so ready for a new one.

    3. I have a 4K Sony XBR55850B in my sights. Right now it’s a decent bang for your buck, and it’s not Samsung.

    1. Maybe, Gollum. But maybe Apple employees leak BECAUSE they’re not trusted. It’s a chicken-and-egg problem. Without trust, employees cannot be expected to be trustworthy. I worked for in Cupertino Apple for years and while I never leaked anything, I never felt respected or trusted because of the toxic Culture of Secrecy.

      1. What hogwash. Any specific employee at Apple that was not trusted wouldn’t be there. They trust their employees.

        But there are so many people and it only takes one bad “Apple” to blow a secret. The care that they take to keep things to a minimum number of people is simply the ONLY way to have a chance at keeping anything secret.

        You really think that telling every employee all the company secrets would make things more secret? You live in a dreamworld Neo.

        1. For various reasons; a sizeable proportion of the leaks regarding Apple are initiated by Apple.

          The whole … “according to an employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the device was confidential” is an open misdirection.

      1. I only hope it was a sanctioned controlled leak. But a touch remote doesn’t really excite me. Actually remotes don’t excite me. However I am guessing, there is no way you are going to get a Harmony or URC to duplicate the touch pad.

  3. Sitting here thinking how a touchpad remote would work in the dark. With the current remote I can feel the buttons and don’t need to see it. Try using your iPhone touch screen without looking!

    …waiting for Apple to surprise me.

    1. If you look at that sony remote (as basic as it is) I don’t see why it would not be mostly workable in the dark as the general movements are reflected on the screen which react to them. It would theoretically be easier than a physical remote with buttons in fact if Apple do it correctly as you actually don’t look at a touch pad as you use it surely (the iPhone comparison isn’t a true one as you are effectively going for graphic buttons). With force touch as an extra factor selecting something at any position on the remote could in fact make it a real boon in fact.

  4. It would BETTER if a “new” Apple TV remote control is the “rebirth” of the iPod’s “classic” click wheel interface. The click wheel is too precious to just fade into tech history. Circular “touch pad” could be a way to describe a click wheel… 🙂

    Whatever Apple does, a “touch pad” does not mean it’s a screen. A device that is purely a media player remote control needs to run “forever” on its battery. The owner does not even think about the battery; just pick it up and use it, then put it down. Occasionally (maybe once a year), there is a minor annoyance of the battery needing to be replaced. Imagine the MAJOR annoyances if the remote control had to be recharged constantly (you had to worry about it), or you could not use Apple TV because the remote’s battery is dead. It’s fine (and fun) to use your iPhone as the “optional” remote control for Apple TV, because the default “boring” remote control is sitting there too.

    And you can’t put a significantly more expensive remote control device “in the box” with Apple TV, because Apple TV needs to cost (at most) $99. The current $69 price is even better. The point is to get the largest number of customers to “adopt” one, because in the case of Apple TV (unlike almost all other Apple hardware products), it’s ALL about the content, NOT the hardware. The hardware just delivers the content in a simple and elegant manner.

    The click wheel interface does everything the current Apple TV IR remote control does, except work faster and more precisely at scrolling through long lists of things. And it has the Select, Menu, Play/Pause, Next, and Previous buttons, all in the same “wheel,” without the need for two separate buttons (like the current remote). Very elegant. It will use a bit more battery power, because “scrolling” requires a continuous signal. The current simple remote just needs a “pulse” for each button press. But it would be ultra efficient compared to any remote control that has a screen.

    1. Interesting idea but just can’t see the return of the click wheel, though circular motions on the touch remote might be a possibility to somewhat mimic it perhaps. Perception is everything and a physical touch wheel would look so yesterday in terms of tech no matter how well it might work.

      1. A “touchpad” is essentially a trackpad. And it’s been around longer than the click wheel. Yet we still use the trackpad, and it looks nothing like a “so yesterday” interface on the latest MacBook. Other interfaces that have been around MUCH longer than the click wheel… The keyboard and mouse. Even the interface used on the current Apple Remote (although it looks circular) is just a “d-pad” (directional pad) used on old console game controllers, with a center Select button. And a d-pad is really a flattened (4-direction) joystick.

        All of those physical user interfaces are older than the click wheel. But we keep using them because they are effective, for their optimal circumstances. A click wheel beats that round d-pad on the current Apple Remote in BOTH utility AND “perception.” It would be like using sitting on your sofa and using an iPod (with a huge screen that is six feet away). The beauty and elegance of the click wheel is that you can use it “by feel” (NOT like a touch screen); no need to take your eyes off the TV screen. This is the same advantage of my older 5th gen iPod nano (click wheel) over the current 7th gen iPod nano (touch screen) when I go running with it. My click wheel nano does not require my eyes looking at it to control music playback while running, because I can FEEL the click wheel.

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