Following a recent developer beta release of Mac OS X "El Capitan", various mac news sites have recently received reports from code peepers of an internal system file bearing the name "AppleBluetoothRemote.kext" containing references to Bluetooth connectivity and Multi-touch trackpad support. While this mysterious file hardly qualifies as solid confirmation for any impending product update, it does provide fodder for us to fantasize what features a revised Apple TV Remote may bring. Let's consider the possibilities here:
The current incarnation of the Apple Remote uses a traditional IR (infrared) beam to transmit commands to the Apple TV. By integrating Bluetooth functionality, users would no longer be required to maintain a "line-of-sight" between the remote and the Apple TV. This would be great! No longer will coffee table books and drink glasses become potential obstructions for the Apple TV remote. Have developed a habit of raising my arm to get a clear shot at our Apple TV 3, I know I would certainly welcome a Bluetooth-capable ATV remote!
One of the more popular requests (and predictions) for a next generation Apple TV is a dedicated Apple TV App Store. However, accommodating interactivity with the Apple TV beyond simple search and purchase functionality will undoubtedly require a revised and more expansive remote control interface. Nobody has suggested Apple will actually add a bunch of more buttons to the remote, so touchpad functionality - like that found on laptops and iPhones screens - naturally makes sense here. Even better would be if Apple integrated their new pressure sensitive "Force Touch" technology, found in the latest Macbook Pros and on the Apple Watch. As the most prevalent Force Touch example discussed on the web seems to be controlling video fast forward and rewind speed, it only makes sense that Apple will (or certainly should!) include this feature on any new Apple TV remote.
The inclusion of a touchpad would certainly mean a larger-sized remote, and the nytimes.com indeed reported back in May that the next Apple TV remote could be thicker in size, and "comparable to the remote control for Amazon’s wireless speaker, the Echo." While it's typically not in Apple's modus operandi to make products bigger, a larger-sized remote would help alleviate the number one complaint I see on Twitter regarding the Apple TV; "Where the heck did that damn remote go?!?"