Today, Apple opens pre-orders for its long-overdue Apple TV relaunch.
The remote is the first thing that appears radically different.
Gone are the days of the minimal two-button, forward-backward navigation. This new remote has 2 microphones, a gyroscope, volume control and a battery rechargeable by lightning cable. (I’m sure it’s just as easily lost in a couch cushion.)
It seems strange that, for all of these bells and whistles, the remote doesn’t support TouchID. I’d rather use my thumbprint to rent a movie than type in a long password. Maybe it’ll work like the setup and prompt me to use my phone. Who cares, really — watching TV is easy enough.
Anyway, it’s the touch pad that really makes this thing feel new. If you want to browse through a list of movies, a thousand individual clicks have been replaced by an easy thumb swipe. For those used to clicking a “back” button, the touch pad will take some getting used to. Your brain kind of wants to seek and press a “select” button rather than just pressing down. It functions much like a MacBook touchpad; it’s responsive, you can tweak the sensitivity, and it physically clicks.
You can also pair the remote to your television, allowing you to power everything on with a single button.
Now that we’re set up and logged in via Bluetooth, the UI is much brighter and cleaner when compared to the original Apple TV. Instead of a dull checkerboard layout on a flat black background, we get something that feels properly fussed-over and a lot more Apple.
Movies and TV shows are listed much the same as in the original Apple TV, just with a better layout.
The Common Sense reviews seem quite weird. Here’s one:
These things are straight-up mesmerizing. Slow, aerial sweeps across gorgeous terrain. The clips cycle randomly and most appear to last up to 2 minutes. If this is what’s displayed while the streaming box is inactive, there is no need for my TV to ever be turned off.
If you like these, you can opt to automatically download new ones every month.