Blog Post

New Apple Remote Sports More Current Look, Better Usability

Stay on Top of Emerging Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

apple_remoteIf you’re like me, you have so many white plastic Apple Remotes scattered around your living space that visitors ask if they’re part of the decor. And they were quite stylish, once upon a time. But Macs started being less about plastic and more about aluminum long ago, and the Remote has languished at the back of Jonny Ive’s design studio, disregarded. Until today, that is.

Along with new iMacs, Mac minis, mice and MacBooks, Apple (s aapl) also quietly unveiled a made-over Remote. It still does the same thing it always has, which is control you Mac or dock-connected iPod remotely, but now it does it with a different aesthetic and improved usability.

The new remote, as you can see from the picture accompanying this post, has an aluminum enclosure and black plastic buttons, borrowing a cue from the design of recent iMacs and MacBook Pros. Note also the button layout change. The Play/Pause button now resides beneath the directional/volume/skip radial button, a new neighbor for the Menu button. The positioning should be better for folks who use Front Row, in which they activate back/forward functions, but I think I prefer the old layout myself, being strictly a VLC guy.

I am happy about the change in the battery door location. You can now use a coin to swivel out the battery cover, sort of like you do on an Apple wireless keyboard. Much better than old bottom-loading batter drawer on the plastic model, which was prone to popping open and just felt generally unstable.

I’m surprised by Apple, which has demonstrated a clear distaste for buttons recently with the iPod shuffle and the new Magic Mouse. It’s only be a matter of time before the Remote gets redesigned as a touch-sensitive slap of nondescript solid aluminum, mark my words.

5 Responses to “New Apple Remote Sports More Current Look, Better Usability”

  1. I just got my new remote, and i just kinda fell in love with it. It’s very thin, and fits perfectly in my hand. The design is fantastic! It’s really a piece of art!

    The moving of the play button was very unnecessary, especially when the circle inside the “wheel” is also a button, and it has the same function…

    My overall experience with the new remote is very good. It feels so good to hold it, and it’s very nice. The old one is nothing compared to this!

  2. This is probably a good idea. Remotes tend to be handled roughly and its possible that the old plastic ones broken often. If this makes them last longer and save the average customer money its a step in the right direction.

    • estephan500

      I make heavy use of the iPod touch app “remote” — it is great, but do not confuse it with the convenience of a dedicated remote. each use, you must take your iTouch or iPhone, wake it up, run the Remote app and get the remote app to make a connection to the host computer — that can take up to 15 seconds or more if your network is hiccuping. it is great once it gets connected, but it is not to be compared with a regular, direct remote. I also use a great remote iTouch app that controls the videoLAN video player. it is similarly great but similarly SLOW and sometimes annoying to get fired up.