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The iPhone will soon be a more capable replacement for the Apple TV remote

Apple TV HD remote.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Shortly after the release of the fourth-generation Apple TV, the company updated its Apple Remote app to make certain tasks like entering passwords less painful, but compared to the actual remote, functionality is limited. Later this year, the app is going to get much more useful.

Apple is currently working a new Remote app for the iPhone, Apple’s Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi told John Gruber in an interview on his podcast, The Talk Show. Unlike the current app, Federighi said the new app is “really a full replacement” for the hardware remote, offering all of its functionality from Siri to trackpad gestures.

This even includes gaming, including the ability to use the iPhone as a second controller in two player games. “Remote for one person, phone for one person,” Cue said.

Neither Cue nor Federighi mentioned a specific release window for the new remote app, but it doesn’t seem that we’ll have to wait for too long, as it was mentioned that the app is expected to be released in “a couple of months.”

The interview is quite revealing considering Apple’s reputation for keeping its plans tightly under wraps. In addition to talk of the upcoming remote app, Cue and Federighi shined light on subscriber numbers for both Apple Music and iCloud.

The updated remote app isn’t the only way that controlling the Apple TV is getting simpler this year. Last week the beta for tvOS 9.2 was updated, adding support for voice dictation, making entering information like user names and passwords much easier than with the standard remote. There is no word on when exactly the update is coming, but it’s expected to arrive sometime this spring.

The full interview includes other interesting tidbits, like the upcoming Bluetooth keyboard support in tvOS 9.2. To listen, head over to Gruber’s website Daring Fireball. The discussion of the new Remote app starts around 22 minutes in.

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Kris Wouk
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kris Wouk is a tech writer, gadget reviewer, blogger, and whatever it's called when someone makes videos for the web. In his…
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