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In 2021, Apple abandoned this awesome Apple TV remote design

Updated Oct 5th, 2022 10:20AM EDT
The Netflix app highlighted on an Apple TV 4K
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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For a company as revered for design as Apple is, the company’s Apple TV remote has always been a curiosity. Perhaps the original design was a relic of Jony Ive’s tenure where function would sometimes take a backseat to form. Still, it’s hardly a controversial take to state that the first Apple TV remote was abysmal and shockingly user-unfriendly. Not only was the remote too light and thin — which made it easy to lose — there was no way to discern, upon picking it up, if you were holding it in the correct orientation.

“The Siri Remote is a gorgeously designed object,” former Apple ad man Ken Segall wrote a few years back, “it’s just a terribly designed remote. It’s a thin slab that feels like, well, a thin slab. Its shape doesn’t contribute one iota to ease of use. There are a number of remotes out there that fit the human hand nicely and put the most-used buttons at one’s fingertips.

This Apple TV remote design would’ve been great

So what’s the point in rehashing the problems that plagued the original Apple TV remote? After all, Apple addressed some of the problems when it released a brand new remote design in 2021. But some users — including myself — maintain that the Apple TV remote could still stand to be a bit more ergonomically friendly.

To this end, Michael Burkhardt on Twitter recently relayed that Apple submitted an Apple TV remote design to the FCC with an indent on the back in 2021. It remains unclear why this never made it into the final design, but this would have been a great addition in my opinion.

While I’d like to assume that we might see this design resurface in a future iteration of the Siri remote, I’m not terribly optimistic. The first version arrived in 2015 and it took Apple a good six years to address many of its glaring flaws. Consequently, the odds we’ll see a revamped Siri remote anytime soon seem slim to none.

More coverage: See the top 5 products of the Apple post-Steve Jobs era.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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