Something I Didn’t Need

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Today after work I decided to pick up one of the cool new all aluminum Apple remotes. There are four devices in my living room that use Apple remotes and since they’re all in the same room I have to have a separate remote for each. Needless to say it gets confusing, until now each of my remotes had a different sticker on the back to show what it controls, hopefully having one unique remote will make life a little easier. Maybe Apple should start making their remotes in multiple colors, because I’m sure I’m not the only person in this situation. The new remote comes in a smart plastic packaging that’s barely larger than the remote itself which I’m assuming is another part of Apple’s improved environmental policies which often seems to mean “make the package smaller.”

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The new Apple remote’s packaging opens with a great trick, there is a small tab on the bottom that when pulled will remove an adhesive strip that encircles the entire perimeter of the package and holds the front and back together.

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The new remote feels great in the hand, it’s certainly a lot thinner than the previous generation, in fact one gets the feeling that if there weren’t a battery inside you’d just be getting a little sliver of aluminum. Speaking of the battery, it’s now enclosed with the signature Apple twist lock, similar to the battery release mechanism on the wireless keyboard and last generation MacBook.

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In the process of moving the play/pause button out of the center of the navigation ring it seems Apple has added a new button. In the play button’s place, there is now a select button similar to the one in the center of an iPod’s click wheel. Its purpose seems uncertain (on my Apple TV it seems to serve the same function as the play button) but I am glad Apple is finally making their remote act a little more like an iPod. Unsurprisingly the navigation ring is still just a set of four directional buttons and not a touch sensitive ring like an iPod’s. The navigation ring’s lack of new talent is indeed a little disappointing, but the infrared interface currently used by the remote probably doesn’t have enough bandwidth to support a continuous touch sensitive ring. Perhaps one day Apple will switch their remotes to Bluetooth to allow for more intricate control or other cool features.

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