The writing is on the wall for the current Apple TV remote, and that is a very good thing.
Earlier today it was reported that Apple is removing the name "Siri Remote" from the latest tvOS 14.5 beta:
As reported by MacRumors, the fifth beta of tvOS 14.5 is removing mentions of the "Siri Remote" and placing it with "Apple TV Remote."
The Siri Remote has always been the Apple TV Remote in countries where Siri functionality is not available on the Apple TV, but now Apple is using the Apple TV Remote wording in countries where the remote was previously referred to as the Siri Remote.
It's unclear if Apple is doing this because a new remote is on the way or if the company is simplifying its terminology across its code, but I really hope it is the first. I will say this though — I actually like the current Apple TV remote. Yes, I'm one of THOSE people. I know it isn't the most intuitive at first, but once I got it, it was very easy to use and quite enjoyable. However, it still needs to die, and here's why.
If you can't stand to wait to see if Apple actually fixes the TV remote and want something different, check out our list of the Best Remotes for Apple TV 2021.
It's incredibly unintuitive to the average user
While many have figured out and enjoyed the remote, most people struggle to understand some crucial functionality that would help elevate the Apple TV experience. Most people are used to the way remotes have been since television was invented, so giving someone a touchpad and a couple of buttons with random symbols on it isn't helping anyone.
I'm not saying that Apple can't get this right, but the current version of the remote is so unfriendly to the average consumer that it's a major downside to an otherwise great experience for the Apple TV itself. Trying to learn all of the gestures, buttons, and different interactions with those buttons is so complicated that I would never recommend the Apple TV for someone like my parents, just because I know I would be bombarded with phone calls for the rest of my life.
It gets lost all the time
Aside from the lack of intuitiveness, the biggest complaint of the current version of the Apple TV remote is that it is so easy to lose due to its small and thin design. While I don't see Apple going in the opposite direction and creating a gigantic, bulky remote that is impossible to lose, the company could use a particular technology and a speaker to solve this problem.
Apple is rumored to potentially announce its long-rumored AirTags product at a virtual April event. AirTags would be Apple's tracking competitor to Tile and allow users to track their items with their iPhone, iPad, and other Apple devices. However, the company could build this tech into the new Apple TV remote so that it, while paired with a small speaker on the remote, would make finding the device much easier.
Finding your iPhone from your Apple Watch is a great example of how this could work. Currently, you can ping your phone from your watch and it will play a sound to help you find it. With Find My, Apple could also build an augmented reality experience to even "show" you where the remote is. So, if it dropped between your couch cushions, you'd be able to find it with ease.
It's time for a change
The Siri Remote absolutely has some things going for it. Once you nail down the buttons and gestures, you can whip through tvOS with lightning speed. Also, having Siri built into the remote makes searching for content a breeze. However, the price of entry is just too high to ask of most consumers, who want a simple remote with simple instructions.
Us power users might lose some of the things that we have alone enjoyed, but a simpler Apple TV remote is for the greater good. The Apple TV 4K deserves a remote that lives up to the experience that it offers.