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Leak says Apple is finally fixing its most hated device of all time

Published Mar 30th, 2021 12:47PM EDT
Apple TV Remote
Image: Daria Sol/Adobe

When it comes to hardware, Apple knows how to balance style and functionality. The iPhone, iPad, and MacBook are all impressive products with sleek, striking designs, and those designs continue to improve over the years. One of the few products that never received quite as warm of a welcome was the remote that ships with the Apple TV. It remains one of Apple’s least practical products, and Apple TV owners have been calling for the company to rethink its design for years. Based on a new report, Apple might finally be ready to do so.

9to5Mac reports that Apple is currently developing a new remote for its set-top box. Sources tell the site that the new model carries the codename “B519,” while the current Siri Remote is identified as “B439” internally. Unfortunately, the details end here, as the sources didn’t have any information about design or features.

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As 9to5Mac notes, Apple slightly altered the design of the Siri Remote with the launch of the Apple TV 4K in 2017 by adding a white ring around the menu button. It did not functionally change anything about the remote — it just made it easier to distinguish between the older and newer models. We don’t know how drastic the changes will be to the next model, but the significantly higher model number might be a hint that bigger changes are coming.

This is not the first time in the last twelve months that signs of a redesigned Apple TV remote have sprung up online. In August, Bloomberg reported that Apple was “developing a new Apple TV box with a faster processor for improved gaming and an upgraded remote control.” The report also mentioned that the new remote would be compatible with the Find My app on iPhone and iPad so that Apple TV owners would be less likely to lose it.

Furthermore, MacRumors spotted an interesting detail in the latest iOS 14.5 beta release just last week. All mentions of the “Siri Remote” are being removed from the mobile operating system and replaced with “Apple TV Remote.” The accessory has always been called “Apple TV Remote” in regions where Siri functionality isn’t available, but now the name “Siri Remote” is apparently being retired around the world.

In an even smaller change, tvOS 14.5 renamed the remote’s “Home Button” to “TV Button” in its latest beta version. This could conceivably be a branding refresh, but based on the growing number of reports from reliable sources, it’s also possible that these are all precursors to a brand new Apple TV Remote.

At this point, it’s only a matter of time before Apple makes a new set-top box (and hopefully remote) official. WWDC 2021 was confirmed on Tuesday morning, and we expect more news from Apple in April.

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Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.