Finally, some might say, the promised Apple TV Remote app has been released to the general public after being part of the iOS 10 developer Beta since WWDC.
The app is new and not an upgrade, is iPhone only mimicking the look and functionality of the Siri remote bundled with the latest Apple TV yet has some sizeable differences.
You can still get the old remote app called iTunes Remote but upon running an error pops up warning you it’s not optimised for iOS 10, if you are running it on the iOS 10 beta.
Two thirds of the Apple TV remote’s screen is taken up with a representation of the track pad that is the equivilant counterpart on the Siri Remote. Below this menu options are available letting you step back through levels after you’ve drilled down into the many Apple TV screens. At each side buttons to stop forward or back if you are listening to music, and change to ten-second skip ahead back/forward if you are watching video.
Aside from the obvious graphic differences between the Apple TV remote layout and the Siri remote and the lack of volume controls there are a few other nice differences.
As with the iTunes Remote app, passwords can be typed, passwords entered and searches performed on text areas using your iPhone’s keyboard. Apple made improvements with Siri letting you enter information one word at a time yet if you have 1Password for your iPhone it’s a heck of a lot easier entering a long secure password rather than trying to spell it out loud.
One thing which is missing is Siri Remote trackpad touching. On the remote you can tap an edge to navigate around the menus but not so in the app. Some might find it confusing to hold down the Siri icon on the iPhone’s screen rather than the actual button to initiate Siri commands.
With video playing tapping the trackpad area in the Apple TV remote app and swiping your finger left and right without lifting brings up the 10 second skip features. Hopefully a further release will see 3D touch where pressing harder skips further.
Those of you with phones supporting haptic feedback will find their device buzzing away with every touch.
The Apple TV Remote app is compatible with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Apple TVs and requires an iPhone running iOS 9.3.2 or later.