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Apple TV 4 features a reinvented remote, with Siri, a Glass Touch surface trackpad and other features. This article covers how to use the Siri remote with the fourth generation Apple TV.
The new Siri remote for Apple TV 4 borrows and innovates on existing technology. Adding voice control to a television remote is nothing new. Amazon, Xfinity and others offered this functionality years before Apple. The new Siri remote also adds a trackpad, accelerometer and gyroscope. The remote is rechargeable and controls the base unit with Bluetooth 4.0 technology. It can also power on your television and adjust its volume.
As a total package, the remote is innovative and one of the best things about Apple’s new television appliance. The remote can do a lot, and not all of its functions are obvious. Let’s take a look at how to use the new Siri remote.
Don’t Drop the Siri Remote!
The fourth generation Apple TV has an Achilles’ heel. The remote is constructed with a glass face. It is fragile. It might not look like glass at first glance, but a few unlucky people have dropped and cracked their remotes. Make sure to handle the remote with care.
There are protective cases and straps designed to protect the remote. If you are accident-prone, I strongly recommend purchasing a case and strap. I personally don’t use a case or strap. When I play video games, I make sure to stand on a rug so that my remote will fall on a softer surface. Given that I have dropped my previous Apple TV remote a few times, it seems like only a matter of time until I drop my Siri remote. A replacement Siri remote costs $79. This exorbitant cost has me exercising greater care when handling the remote.
Siri Remote Trackpad and Buttons
The new Siri remote features a minimalistic design. I’ve always disliked the complexity of cable and television remotes. One must scan the remote to find the right button, because each button controls a specific function. Buttons are crowded together, making it all too easy to press the wrong one, especially in the dark. Apple TV has always employed a contextual user interface. The remote only offers a few controls, as users are guided by on-screen information. Basically, one can navigate through the UI to change settings, select content and operate other functionality. With Siri, it’s possible to control playback, settings and other features using one’s voice.
The trackpad on the Siri remote is constructed of glass and is very sensitive. The surface is smooth, but feels more like hard silicone or plastic than glass. The trackpad can be used for basic navigation, moving the selection focus up, down, left and right. Just about any direction is possible, although this is more useful with games and other apps. Press down on the trackpad to click. This is often used to make a selection. Tapping on the trackpad, without clicking it, is another method of user interaction. This can be used in a variety of ways. In the Music app, this will toggle between the Now Playing and Up Next views. Simply holding your finger down on the trackpad is yet another way to control your Apple TV. When playing videos, this gesture is used to display the playback timeline and skip forward or reverse in 10 second increments. We’ll take an in-depth look at these features later in the article. (continue…)