Setting up the Apple TV: Part 3, Apple’s Remote app

Apple's Remote app icon from Apple's site.Continuing the series (part 1, installation, and part 2, Airplay) on setting up our new Apple TV at home, this post will sum up my thoughts of an app I had known about but since I didn’t own an Apple TV when it was released, had completely forgotten about. Apple has a tiny app (free) in the app store called Apple Remote, and it does just what it’s name implies. It turns your iOS device (iPhone, and, I presume, iPad, and iPod touch) into a remote to control your Apple TV.

Using the Apple Remote app came out of a fit of laziness. I was sitting on the couch with my daughter, and the Apple TV’s actual remote control (a beautiful and slender silver stick with a click wheel similar to the original iPods) was sitting across the room next to the TV. It was then that I remembered that Apple had an app called Remote and I immediately downloaded it to my iPhone4.

Upon first tapping the app, with the iPhone already on our local wi-fi network, it immediately found the home sharing that I’d set up via iTunes on my MacBook, and also subscribed to by our Apple TV. Once I’d logged into the home sharing, taping the screen turned on (or, more correctly, woke from sleep) the Apple TV. After it woke up, I saw the Apple TV navigation titles on the screen that are controllable by the left/right/up/down clicks on the silver remote’s click wheel. The controls on the Remote app are super simple. You swipe left right, up or down, to move a cursor on the screen in that large black open area in the center of the iOS device’s screen. The “Tap to Navigate” directional arrows on the image to the left are exactly what you’d see. Once you have moved the curser over what you want to choose, you simply tap on the iPhone’s screen. Tapping does the select.

I was, again, surprised at how easy it was to work. So easy, in fact, that my six year old daughter immediately took the iPhone from me and went about to scrolling through the list of movies we were streaming from my computer via Home Sharing (details coming soon) to pick out the movie she wanted to see (Ella Enchanted for those interested).

I know I am an Apple fan girl from way back, but it’s easy to see why when the things that Apple makes just work. I understand the hacker culture’s need to be able to jailbreak and tear apart the tech that they buy, but I also totally appreciate the culture of insanely great products that just work instilled into Apple’s design philosophy by Steve Jobs. The Apple TV and associated Apple remote all are two bits of technology that I know my Mom and Step Dad would be able to master is short order.

Whether or not Apple has the best TV ever in development for 2012, I am still happy we took the plunge with this huge Panasonic TV with the second gen Apple TV.