If Apple is really working on a television, then they've got a lot of room for improvement in one specific area: the remote. The remote is often the worst part of the TV. It's covered in buttons that most people never figure out how to use--a very un-Apple-like experience. But the remote that comes with the current Apple TV is far from perfect. Sure, it's simple, but it also makes scrolling through long lists a huge pain, and IR is not a reliable way for devices to communicate. Apple TV Remote

Steve Jobs liked to say "good artists copy, great artists steal." So let's go ahead and steal something from another company to recently tried to make a very user-friendly remote: Nintendo. I'm not talking about accelerometers, just the pointing functionality. The Wii's menu system is by far the easiest to navigate of any TV-box I've used in a long time because pointing, scrolling, and clicking with a pointer is just as natural as it is with a mouse, and almost more so in certain cases. Typing on the Wii is also about five times faster and ten times less of a pain in the ass than it is using the Apple TV remote. So take the Wii's "sensor bar" and build it in to the edges of the TV. Add the compatible sensors on the remote and suddenly you've got a simple pointing device that makes it easy to navigate potentially complex menus on your TV.

But that's not all: let's add two more things to the existing Apple TV remote: a microphone, and a Siri button. When you're sitting on the other side of the room from your TV, you don't want to have to yell instructions to it. Instead, you press a button on the remote to activate Siri and just talk into the remote in your hand.

And there's another way to improve on the existing Apple TV and that's the Remote app. Right now Apple TV users can download a free iPhone app called Remote which lets you control your Apple TV with your iPhone. It's great, but it's got its shortcomings too. The major one is that you have to use wifi, which is occasionally laggy, and takes a few seconds to reconnect to the Apple TV each time you open the app or unlock your iPhone. You can eliminate the reconnect time by telling the remote app to stay connected at all times, but that keeps the wifi radio active which uses a significant amount of your iPhone's battery.

If Apple used a new, low-power, low-latency wireless technology, it could eliminate these problems. The remote would automatically connect to the TV when your iPhone was within range and would stay connected, eliminating the reconnect delay each time you pick up your iPhone. This wireless technology could also be built in to the standard remote, eliminating the line-of-sight (and lag) problems that exist with the existing Apple TV remote. Where do we get such an amazing wireless technology, you ask? Well it turns out we already have it: Bluetooth 4.0.

Lastly, all this technology will require a bit more than the button-cell battery found in the Apple TV remote. Throw in a rechargeable battery and induction charging or even wireless charging and you're set.

So there we go: take the existing Apple Remote, add a pointer system like the one found in the Wii (with the sensor bar built in to the TV), as well as a microphone, Bluetooth 4.0, and a rechargeable battery with induction charging. What you have now is the greatest television input device ever created. Hey Apple: you can have this one. Free of charge.

Posted
AuthorConnor Graham