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September 29, 2018

Why the remote on the latest Apple TV is so frustrating


I've had Apple TV for many years, and the upgrade that I did a few days ago reminds me how wonderful change can be, and how frustrating. Of course the interface is absolutely brilliant, and it now operates the same way that your iPhone and iPad do, with the TV app. There's even Siri, for voice commands, which work great.

However, the remote was a source of great frustration for me. It may not be for you, but I just didn't understand it conceptually. The top part is like a track pad on a laptop computer. I'm not a laptop user, so I missed it when I first tried it. And since it's completely blank, and the instructions don't say, "use it like a track pad on a laptop", it was just weird to me.

Like a trackpad on a laptop, it swipes. It actually goes in four directions, and has a middle click. So if you need to go up on the screen, you swipe up. I tend to have a nervous thumb and to me it just looked like stuff was happening on screen randomly - but it was just my thumb swiping, and the remote is very sensitive. I have found that even doing a click can go wrong if you're not exactly centered with your thumb, and it thinks that you swiped and then clicked.

The secret to using the remote is to use the button that looks like a microphone. Siri is built in now, and you can just say, "YouTube". In fact, Siri can do all of the stuff it can do on your phone, like playing a song you have. I find that I'm using the remote trackpad less, and the microphone more and just saying, "Play the Three Stooges". Yes, I watch the Three Stooges, and have them in my iTunes library. I'm also saying "Netflix" and when I see something interesting I just say to watch it.

What I found to be the coolest thing is being able to speak passwords. Since Apple TV has never had a keyboard, typing on it has been awful. So don't bother, use Siri. Time for me to get into the 21st Century!

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