The consumer tech press is cautiously optimistic that the new Apple TV remote will finally overcome a history of user frustration.
The new Siri remote does away with the old remote’s touchpad in favor of a new circular clickpad with a touch-sensitive middle portion that allows you to quickly swipe through long lists of shows–reminiscent of the beloved iPod. The remote can also now control the power for your entire television (at last), and features a dedicated Siri button on its side in case you ever want to bring the frustration of Siri into your living room and not save all the cursing for your car.
In addition to HDR and Dolby Sound there is a new Color Balancing trick that incorporates your iPhone
Here’s some of what Apple had to say about themselves in the press release (excerpted):
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA Apple today announced the next generation of Apple TV 4K, delivering high frame rate HDR with Dolby Vision and connecting customers to their favorite content with the highest quality. At the heart of the new Apple TV 4K is the A12 Bionic chip that provides a significant boost in graphics performance, video decoding, and audio processing. And with an all-new design, the Siri Remote makes it even easier to watch shows and movies on Apple TV with intuitive navigation controls. Together with tvOS — the most powerful TV operating system — Apple TV 4K works seamlessly with Apple devices and services to magically transform the living room in ways that everyone in the family will love.
Use your phone as a sensor to color balance
Through an innovative color balance process, Apple TV works with iPhone and its advanced sensors to improve a television’s picture quality. Apple TV uses the light sensor in iPhone to compare the color balance to the industry-standard specifications used by cinematographers worldwide. Using this data, Apple TV automatically tailors its video output to deliver much more accurate colors and improved contrast — without customers ever having to adjust their television settings.
The Redesigned Siri Remote The all-new Siri Remote features an innovative clickpad control that offers five-way navigation for better accuracy, and is also touch-enabled for the fast directional swipes Apple TV users love. The outer ring of the clickpad supports an intuitive circular gesture that turns it into a jog control — perfect for finding a scene in a movie or show. And with its one-piece aluminum design, the new Siri Remote fits more comfortably in a user’s hand.
The new Siri Remote also has a power button that controls a TV’s power, and another for mute, making it the only remote needed while enjoying TV. Using Siri, customers can easily search for specific shows or movies, control smart home accessories, check sports scores or the weather, and much more. Siri now works on Apple TV in Austria, Ireland, and New Zealand, joining the 13 countries and regions that already support Siri.
Here’s CNET’s David Katzmaier going through the whole release, including some shots of the new remote functionality. (You will need to scrub to the interesting parts).