Apple Will Update The iPhone’s Remote App To Do Everything Apple TV’s Own Remote Can

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Back in October of 2015, Apple released a long awaited hardware update to the Apple TV — and with it, a shiny new Apple TV remote. You could speak to the remote to issue voice commands (“Siri, play Pitch Perfect 2. Yes, again. Don’t judge me, Siri. You don’t know me.”) and flick around a built-in trackpad for quick navigation.

But long-time Apple TV users noticed something quick: Apple’s Remote app for the iPhone, which allowed you to control the Apple TV with your iPhone when the dedicated remote wasn’t handy, wasn’t keeping up with the new feature set. Basic functionality (like using the iPhone as a keyboard) worked — but all of the nifty new stuff was missing.

It sounds like that’ll be changing shortly. In an interview with John Gruber, Apple’s Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi laid out some details of a coming Remote app update:

Eddy Cue: We have a new remote app.. if you have an iphone, you can use the keyboard on the iPhone.

Craig: And more than that, really… there’s full Siri, from your phone, communicating to your TV. That’s a great upgrade to that app.

Gruber: Well, there’s a remote app [already] for the iPhone now that you can connect to AppleTV.

Eddy: There is. As Craig said, it only does the keyboard… the new remote app will have all the capabilities of the new Apple TV remote does, like Siri.

Craig: And obviously, you have the trackpad function of the remote — you’ll be able to do that with the phone. It’s really a full replacement.

Gruber: Will it work with some of the games? So if there’s a 2 player game, someone can use their phone, someone else can use the remote?

Eddy: Yep – that’s exactly it. Remote for one person, phone for one person.

It’s actually quite surprising to hear Cue and Federighi talk so openly about new stuff in the pipeline; traditionally, Apple aimed to keep even the smallest of details under lock and key. Between this and opening up iOS betas to the public, it’s as if someone at Apple said “Maybe… maybe we don’t have to be quite so secretive…”

Want to hear it for yourself? The relevant bit begins at 22:10 or so in this week’s episode of Gruber’s The Talk Show.