Dan Wineman’s concept, above, for an iOS-powered Apple TV/iTV remote that's essentially an iPod touch without the screen, is interesting. Same accelerometer/gyro, same multitouch, same home button.
I think this device might even work as the only remote for the iTV, even when you’re just using it to, you know, watch TV. No pushbutton Apple Remote at all, in other words: everything is gesture-based. Tap to pause, swipe left to rewind, swipe right to fast-forward. Slide up or down to adjust volume. Home key to exit to the menu, which you navigate by flicking and tapping. And just imagine how much better seeking around in videos will be with a touch surface…
John Gruber still isn't sure if any intermediated device could work (though given you'll be sitting 10 feet away, one certainly will have to).
It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t know. The magic in the iPhone/iPad UI isn’t about putting your fingers on a flat surface and tapping/sliding/dragging. It’s in the direct manipulation. It’s that you’re touching the actual visual elements on the screen itself. A layer of abstraction peeled away. That’s why the Magic Trackpad does not make your Mac feel like an iOS device.
If Apple does go for something like this, however, you just know they'd call it Magic iRemote.