How Apple Watch will be your next remote control

Just like the iPhone and iPad, different people will find each of those features compelling to a greater or lesser degree, and which ones they find compelling can change over time. The Watch as remote control is a great example: Apple hasn't spent a lot of time on it yet, but it could become much more important as time passes.

Camera Remote

With the Apple Watch, you can remotely access the viewfinder on your iPhone's iSight camera. That means you can put your iPhone somewhere, see what it sees, and take the perfect picture — even from afar. That could be for a selfie, group photo, or just to get what would otherwise be an impossible shot. You can even set a time lapse, right from your wrist.

I can see Martin Reisch — Instagram's safesolvent able to take his renowned "stance" shots with just a few taps, no matter how insane his positioning.

Music + Audio

The Apple Watch can store up to 2GB locally and play it as well as any iPod ever could. It can also control your iPhone's music playback, both locally stored music and from iTunes Match. If your iPhone is streaming to AirPlay-enabled speakers, whether you're in your office or at the lake, you can control all of that as well, right from your wrist.

Right now headphone remotes are like iPod shuffles — they let you do basic actions. With Apple Watch, it'll be more like an iPod nano. A small window that really lets you see into your audio.

Apple TV + iTunes Remote

Similar to the Remote app for iOS, the Remote app for the Apple Watch lets you connect to any Apple TV you own, at home or at work, along with any iTunes library on your Mac or Windows PC. Whether you're in the family room or the board room, alone or in a group, there's no more reaching for the hardware remote and no more reaching for the iPhone or iPad — There's just a few taps and twists of your wrist.

Best of all, if you need to quickly pause at any time, you don't have to find the controller or scramble for the phone — you can just tap what's always on your wrist.

Siri + HomeKit

As cool as media remotes could to be, the bigger promise is home automation. With Siri, Apple's personal digital assistant, and HomeKit, the company's accessory interface framework, you'll be able to do everything from opening and closing doors to setting lights to changing the temperature and more. And all with a word.

There's already a BMW car remote, Pacemaker DJ, and an AMPLIFi remote for speakers and and guitar amps on Apple's App Store for Watch page, and Apple demonstrated a garage door opener and closer with remote monitoring on stage.

HomeKit was announced last year for developers, but we'll probably only start seeing an influx of HomeKit-enabled accessories for this year's round of winter holidays. The Apple Watch will have been out for months by then, and my dream of lifting my wrist and saying "Siri, crash the compound!" could well be fulfilled.

The future of remote control

The big caveat here is that we don't yet know how well any of this will work. It could be utterly seamless to the point where it's transformative, or it could get off to a slow, glitchy start. After having seen the Apple Watch and HomeKit in person, I'm enthusiastic to say the least.

I can see a future where homes, toys, gear, and more is all easily controlled, at least at the simplest and most convenient level, by the device on my wrist.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.