I really like Apple TV 4K. Sure, it’s a lot more expensive than the 4K streaming devices from Roku and Amazon, but it gets so much right that it earns a spot on our list of best streaming devices.
However, the more I use Apple’s competitors, the more I realize that Apple can really steal one feature they might think is too subtle. Or maybe they think he’s too dead.
In the world of streaming devices, innovation is tough. The new third-generation Amazon Fire TV Cube has an Ultra HD Upscaling, which is supposed to sharpen non-4K content to make it look sharper on your UHD TVs. And this may be a great blessing, but I have never felt the need for it. Instead, I thought how streaming devices could make it easier, you know, Start broadcast.
And that’s why Apple should look to the Roku and Fire TV mobile apps for inspiration.
The Apple TV remote control in the iPhone is missing a major feature
One of the best reasons for iPhone owners to get an Apple TV is the seamless integration between the two devices. Since you can add the Apple TV Remote button to the Control Center on your iPhone, you can access the remote from the lock screen with just a swipe and tap.
And while the app-based remote is fine — it’s a giant trackpad, with play/pause, TV, back, and power buttons — it could be even better. To paraphrase a Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen (Opens in a new tab)And the I want to stop broadcasting. And Roku and Fire TV actually beat Apple in this regard.
Since I’ve learned to test devices like the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Fire TV Stick 4K, these platforms also have app-based remotes. And at the bottom of the Roku’s Remote app is the Channels button. In the upper-right corner of the Fire TV app, there’s a small icon with three squares and a “+” sign.
Both buttons do (basically) the same job: open a tray of your apps. This way, you just have to click on the app you want to watch on your TV, and it opens.
Yes, this is a really simple function. No, I can see no reason why Apple wouldn’t want to do this. (There can be no licensing fees, right?) Apple could do that better, too.
Outlook: Apple could beat Roku and Fire TV in this
The one thing that sets Roku and Fire TV apart is that you don’t have much control over which streaming device apps you see. You only see recently opened on Roku and every one of them on Fire TV.
Now that iOS 16 is playing with lock screen widgets (give us the Apple TV Remote, Mr. Cook, please), Apple may realize that personalization isn’t a four-letter word. Its implementation of this feature can allow you to hide applications that you do not want to see (such as, for example, the Movie / TV Store, Settings or something else).
This is the brilliance of the virtual remote: the software is finally customizable. I just hope some Apple executives have checked out the Roku and Fire TV apps, to find out for themselves.