The previous iteration of the Siri Remote has come under much criticism since its launch. It has been commonly labeled as oversimplified and lacking in basic functionality. Many users found it unclear which buttons did what.
It appears Apple has been listening, and the new remote combines the now-familiar touch gestures with the traditional ‘outer ring’ push buttons first seen on the original iPods.
The new remote can also control your TV, with power and mute buttons. Apple say it’s ‘the only remote needed while enjoying TV’.
The Siri button is now found on the remote’s right-hand edge, similar to the side button on the iPhone. Siri can be used to search for TV shows or movies, check the weather, sports scores, and control your home’s smart gadgets connected to HomeKit.
In addition to existing countries, Siri on the new Apple TV 4K is now also supported in Austria, Ireland, and New Zealand.
We’ll see what’s it’s like in use when we get to hold one, but it looks like a step in the right direction.
The new Siri Remote is available to buy separately. It will work with the Apple TV 4K (2nd generation), Apple TV 4K (1st generation), and Apple TV HD. It will be available in the second half of May.
Other new Apple TV features
The updated Apple TV 4K hardware now runs on the A12 Bionic chip and supports higher frame rates. Apple says:
With A12 Bionic, Apple TV 4K now supports high frame rate HDR (High Dynamic Range) and Dolby Vision video, enabling fast-moving action at 60 frames per second (fps) to play more smoothly and appear more lifelike than ever before.1 Apple is working with leading video providers around the world, including FOX Sports, NBCUniversal, Paramount+, Red Bull TV, and Canal+, as they begin to stream in high frame rate HDR. And with high frame rate support in AirPlay, videos shot on iPhone 12 Pro can be displayed in full 60-fps Dolby Vision on the new Apple TV 4K.
Color Balance Technology
The new Apple TV 4K works with an iPhone running iOS 14.5 to perform a color balance process on your TV screen.
Once initiated, you’re prompted to hold your iPhone close to (1 inch away according to Apple) and facing your TV screen.
The Apple TV will automatically adjust its video output to ‘deliver much more accurate colors and improved contrast. At this point, we don’t know if this will be system-wide, affecting all video output from the Apple TV, or if it can be used with specific apps, such as Apple TV+, Netflix, or Amazon.
The new Apple TV 4K is available to order from the 30th of April, with availability beginning in the second half of May.