Rumored new Apple TV remote to include Touchpad

The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are some of the most popular full-featured streaming devices on the market today. When Apple releases their long rumored new Apple TV this summer, it’s sure to be the Fire TV’s top competitor. While the focus of AFTVnews is the Fire TV, it would be silly to ignore a competing product released by the worlds most popular company. That said, the New York Times is reporting that the new Apple TV will come with a redesigned remote control that contains a touchpad.

When Steve Jobs first introduced the Apple TV in 2007, he famously, to great laughter, compared their tiny “2-button w/ D-Pad” remote to Windows Media Center remotes containing dozens of buttons. The Apple TV remote has changed very little since those early days. But that’s expected to change with the new Apple TV model which is rumored to replace the existing remote’s directional buttons with a touchpad. The new remote’s touchpad will be used for scrolling around a redesigned interface, while the remote retains the existing MENU and PLAY/PAUSE buttons.

Innovation in remote controls seems to be a popular differentiator with new streaming boxes. Roku integrated a headphone jack into their flagship remote, and several manufactures, like Tivo, have integrated full keyboards into their remotes. You’re certainly aware that Amazon added a microphone to the Fire TV’s remote, but did you know the remote also includes a disabled accelerometer which may have once been a planned feature that didn’t quite make it into the final design? And now Apple is expected to enter the game with a touchpad remote. Let me know what you think of a touchpad remote in the comments section of this post.


  1. Jared says:

    For me to go back to an AppleTV, it would have to be super amazing and super cheap to put up with Apple’s heavy handed protections. I miss air play, but that’s it.

  2. Rajendra says:

    Airplay is the only thing that’s missing in Fire TV… however I would love to see more open application support on Apple TV (which can bring in kodi on it).

    Also, any idea what will be the future of existing Apple TV 3? Will there be software updates (like iOS 7 for iPhone 4)?

    • robert says:

      Fire TV has DLNA doesn’t it?

    • pmcd says:

      You will never see XBMC/Kodi on an Apple TV officially. You probably would see Plex. Kodi, whether warranted or not, does have a rather negative reputation with content owners and it’s hard enough for Apple, Amazon, etc … to get them to let go of some control. Of course it might be possible to hack Kodi into an ATV like sideloading with the AFTV or running PlexConnect on the current Apple TV.

    • Tony says:

      Airplay works perfect Music/Radio you need to get Airplay/DLNA Receiver (PRO) from the Appstore.

      • pmcd says:

        Yes, I have been using AirPlay/DLNA Receiver Pro for a long time. Excellent app, perhaps the best one for the AFTV.Since iOS 8 it hasn’t been quite as reliable for me ( still good though).

  3. Bozo Babonga says:

    Airplay works fine on Kodi. Make sure you have screen mirroring disabled. Then it’s good to go.

    • pmcd says:

      Do you mean it works fine for music? It certainly does not for anything else. Mirroring is a big deal for many video apps so that is a slight negative. I have repeatedly tried AirPlay with XBMC and Kodi on a variety of platforms. None are reliable.

  4. Ujn Hunter says:

    Touchpads are garbage to me. When Microsoft replaced the original Zune’s Buttons with Apple’s iPod Touchpad controls, it ruined the Zune for me. I want tactile feedback… I want to “click” a button. Imaginary finger waving is not something I would want on my remote. That’s my opinion.

    • pmcd says:

      Interesting point. I also like tactile buttons which is why I like Harmony remotes as opposed to using a smart device as a controller ( as in ChromeCast). Nevertheless, a lot of people seem to like using a smart phone or tablet or a keyboard with a trackpad to control their media players. The Sony Internet GTV box had a trackpad in addition to directional keys. Interesting remote. I rarely used the trackpad preferring the directional keys. I guess we will have to see how it is implemented.

      Anyway, am not a big fan of trackpads. Even with keyboards I far prefer a trackball or the original ThinkPad thumb stick or whatever it is called.

  5. porkie says:

    I predict now that the next Apple TV will be very underwealming. Sure it may have an app store, but those apps will be muusic and video addons that the Apple TV already has, just this time you will be able to pick and choose. Apple could care less about making an Androidlike set top box with games and apps available. Appe thinks they are where its at and that they created the market and could care less what people want with thir devices. They will put out an Apple TV with the features they like and assume you wiill like it too. They do the same thing with all their other devices. Apple has the balls to make laptops with non upgradable hardware and somehow is able to sell millions of them. Apple makes a phone and a tablet that cannot even so much as install a global theme, but somehow they sell millions of them. Apple could care less what people want, cause they make devices they would like to have and somehow get people to buy them. Trust me, the app store for the Apple TV is not gonna be what people think it is, it will be full of apps like HBO, Plex, etc, and people will act like its cool as hell til they realize they cannot insstall al games or apps. There will be no huge changes to the next Apple TV, and people should already know that. The general UN from the first iphone still looks the same as the general ui from the last iphone. Mac OS still looks the same as it did 8 versions ago and so on. Apple does not like change and giving a full fledged app store would be too big of a change to the software of the Apple TV. Apple has never been known for giving major changes to thier software or giving people features they want. Don’t you people remember when Apple put a camera on the iphone and made it so that people could not send and recieve picture message? Apple did not care in the least that all other phones could do MMS, cause they do things how they want. They also do not care that all Android boxes let you play games and install apps, cause they do not feel they are competing with Android. Nevermind the fact that ios devices can only connect to bluetooth devices made by apple, which means no controller support. Trust me, the next Apple TV will be more of the same, just this time you get a so called app store that only has the entertainment apps that the Apple TV 3 already has. The remote will be the ig change, but nothing else will change that much.

  6. robert says:

    I really don’t expect the new Apple TV to be anything other than underwhelming, like most Apple products.

  7. pmcd says:

    An Apple TV with an App Store including apps like Plex, but not Kodi, would be a formidable competitor. AirPlay does not work perfectly on any other platform even though some of the Fire TV apps are pretty good for AirPlay. It’s always hit and miss for video and even Photos.

    Love the FireTV but I would not underestimate the appeal of an ATV with an App Store.

    Of course people who want Kodi on the Apple TV will never be happy. It’s just not going to happen. It’s surprising that it runs on the AFTV.

    An App Store with Plex for the Apple TV would be a game changer for us as we are largely an Apple home except for a slew of Amazon products which we really like (Kindles, phone, HDX Fire, AFTV, Echo). The key for us at least is that the general Android has no appeal which of course is not the case for many people. I actually like Amazon’s App Store and don’t really care for access to the Play store.

    I suspect a lot of Apple users do in fact really like Amazon products, the Roku but have issues with Google.

    • Tinwarble says:

      I’m not sure why it’s surprising that Kodi runs on the AFTV?

      And I have to disagree, a new ATV with Plex is not going to be a game changer because no one that wants to have a Kodi device wants to or will settle for a device that can only run Plex.

      As for a touch navigation only remote, I think it’s a terrible idea. All I see is having a remote that you’ll be cussing all the time (or cussing yourself) because you accidental swiped or select something while holding it.

  8. porkie says:

    The only way it will be a game changer is if plex is the full plex like boxee for ipad was on the ipad. I refuse to use plex because it takes two devices to run it. I never said plex would for sure be in their app store, but I assume it will be. Like I said though, I can already tell you that the app store is not gonna be lke the app store on other idevices, it will feature entertainment apps that the Apple TV 3 already has plus more of the same kind off audio/video apps and maybe plex. Its not gonna have all the apps and games. Apple does not care about games and apps on the Apple TV, they use it for audio and video so that if you wanna play games you gotta go out and buy the ipad or iphone. They pretend that other companies are not already doing things like how Amazon is with the fire TV. A good example is that they would never mention the Galaxy Note when it came out, but they kept stressing the fact that they thought the iphone was the perfect size, then they mean the screen slightly bigger and said it was still the perfect size, now the screen is basically the same size as the Galaxy Note and they pretend like it was their idea to make a phone with a big screen. Took them three years to give people a big screen, two years to allow MMS messaging, two years to allow Facetime on all connections and the list goes on and on. They really do not care what Android boxes are doing and the new Appple TV will more of the same Apple TV with a couple changes, like an app store that doesn’t have thousands of games and apps. They do things when they want to them and could care less what their customers want. Only Apple has the gull to put a camera on the early iphones and not allow MMS messaging, but still make people think its the best thing on earth. If early Android devices had cameras and did not allow MMS, we would not be using Android today, but somehow Apple gets away with it. Apple is a ballsy company. They have sold millions of phones that you cannot even theme out unless you hack em, but they still get people to buy em. If they added new software to the Apple TV 3 with an appstore and called it an Apple TV 4 they would sell a million of them tomorrow. The sad part is thats basically wht the Apple TV 4 will be anyway.

    • pmcd says:

      Plex has always required a media server and clients. That was the big split in philosophy with osxbmc going that route from XBMC. It makes a lot of sense to have the server requirement differ from clients. I understand that some people want both on the same device but I suspect they are in the minority.

      In any case I do feel an Apple TV with an App Store selling Plex type apps will be very popular. Your implication that iPhone users are not quite as savvy as Android users makes it difficult to extrapolate your ATV analysis. Of course XBMC enthusiasts, committed Android users and so on will not jump up and buy into the ATV. No big deal. They aren’t the target audience and there are already excellent options for them. But, there are many people who like the Apple ecosystem and an ATV with an App Store will definitely appeal to them. Of course we will have to see just what’s in there but assuming it’s reasonable I suspect Roku sales will be greatly affected. The Fire TV is more immune as many really like the Amazon ecosystem despite constant efforts to hide it.

  9. Tony says:

    Airplay works perfect Music/Radio/ and Movies you need to get Airplay/DLNA Receiver (PRO) from the Appstore.

  10. Zeke says:

    Hmmm. A touchpad on a remote just seems lazy and pointless. Tactile remotes with buttons are always better – there’s a reason we haven’t done away with bog standard IR remotes for home cinema type applications. The best tool for the best job, not another touchpad/touchscreen which will always be less accurate and frustrating to use.

    The Apple TV just isn’t interesting – the Fire TV slays it in almost every department, it’s far more versatile once you’ve side loaded some apps etc. Problem is, most people can’t be bothered with that, too technical even though in the scope of things you can do with technology it’s childsplay simple. They’d rather pay more to have it done for them and stay in the closed Apple ecosystem, have thin phones that are fragile, need to be charged all the time because the battery life is so terrible etc. I own one Apple product and that’s it – a MacBook Air. The rest of their range is a joke. Apple Watch? Please. Totally redundant and has the same battery life issues as their phones. They’re basically out of ideas and are shilling the same basic product over and over again.

    Here’s an interesting fact – in luxury cars made by Audi and Mercedes-Benz the firmware updates for iOS over the past few months have basically crippled proper syncing of calls and music playing by Bluetooth for no apparent reason. So you have people with expensive phones in expensive cars not working properly. And this is from Apple, whose products apparently live in a universe where everything “just works”. Not so.

    Anyway this is fast becoming a slating of Apple, but it suffices to see version four of the Apple TV won’t do anything particularly groundbreaking that isn’t done better elsewhere for less money.

  11. Josh Broome says:

    People like apple devices for dependability, safety and ease of use. Pay greater initial money for something and it is worth much more when you sell it five years later. Android and Windows are great operating systems and I use them frequently, but they are not easy. Try installing a random older driver on windows 7 or 8. The OEM skins on android phones are always different and full of crap bloat ware. The same thing for most windows computers. No standardization, all applications don’t run on all devices. By buying an apple product your paying more for something you can’t control, but something that is actually well thought out and designed. Ios 8 was a step back- and I think they tried to accomplish too much in/ with it, it’s buggy and a mess sometimes. I hope that there is a way to sideload kodi onto the new Apple tv, then I might buy three. Literally the same night they announce the ability to do that, I will buy three of them. No Kodi, no dice. While I bought AFTV, for Kodi- I give it to the designers at Amazon, they built one hell of a box. Fast and capable, beautiful remote, menus, etc. the recent updates were great. Prime content, superb for the kids. And I wouldn’t doubt if Amazon will end the ability, to sideload/developer options on this box at some point. Because you don’t monetize customers if your a la cart giving them the ability to sideload, apps, Kodi, etc. If you don’t like apple’s closed system- you can be like me and only update when there is a jailbreak available. Like me, the owner of three atv 2 and 0 atv 3. Peace.

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