Is Apple Working on a New Siri Remote?

New code in the first two iOS 16 betas reveals that Apple could be working on a new Siri Remote.
2021 Siri Remote Credit: James Yarema / Unsplash
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It’s become a fascinating hobby in recent years to dig through Apple’s early betas, looking for clues to new and unreleased hardware products. That’s how Apple’s plans for AirTags first came to light three years ago, and even today we’re still seeing hints of Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset.

Of course, not everything that can be discovered from poring through Apple’s betas is quite as groundbreaking, but new code in the first two iOS 16 betas reveals that Apple could be working on a new Siri Remote.

As noted by MacRumors, Aaron (@aaronp613), a contributor at AppleDB, an online database that keeps track of Apple software and hardware, has found two references in the iOS 16 betas that point to an as-yet-unknown Siri Remote.

Strings for “SiriRemote4” and “WirelessRemoteFiremare.4” in the iOS 16 code strongly suggest that work is already underway within Apple on the next generation of Siri Remote — and quite likely a new Apple TV to go with it.

Before you get too excited, though, there are some important points to keep in mind. Firstly, as Aaron explained to MacRumors, there have been three distinct Siri Remotes identified by the following internal names:

  1. SiriRemote: The original Siri Remote that was released with the 2015 Apple TV (now known as the Apple TV HD)
  2. SiriRemote2: The slightly revised version of the original with a white circle around the menu button that came with the 2017 Apple TV 4K.
  3. SiriRemote4: The significantly upgraded silver aluminum Siri Remote that shipped with last year’s Apple TV 4K.

As you can see from this progression, there’s no guarantee that “SiriRemote4” will be anything significant. While the new identifier suggests there were likely more changes under the hood, for users, the second Siri Remote was identical to the first in every way except for the white ring around the menu button.

The fourth-generation Siri Remote could be something similarly unremarkable. Apple released a new version only last year, so it’s likely to stick with it for at least a bit longer.

The Next Apple TV?

What’s perhaps more interesting about this is that even if the remote is only a minor redesign, it could herald the arrival of a new Apple TV.

Rumors have been swirling that Apple could be retiring the aging 2015 Apple TV HD, along with more concrete reports that it’s working on a more affordable “lite” version of its set-top box.

The Apple TV HD is already one of the oddest products in Apple’s current lineup. It sells for only $30 less than the Apple TV 4K, despite predating that current model by six years. Nevertheless, there’s obviously a market for this older model if Apple is keeping it around. Thirty bucks is thirty bucks, so why spend more than you need to if you’re looking for something for a smaller 1080p set.

If Apple were to release an even lower-cost Apple TV, there would likely be no place for the Apple TV HD in the lineup. The new model would undercut the 2015 version, and even if it was a pure streaming box that lacked support for features like HomeKit, Home Theatre Audio, and gaming, these are all things that the Apple TV HD doesn’t handle particularly well either.

Reports are also still floating around that Apple is working on an even more powerful Apple TV, perhaps even with an integrated HomePod, or something more akin to a game console.

However, the last thing to remember is that while snippets of code in Apple’s iOS betas often reveal what Apple is working on, they don’t always offer a reliable timeline. Remember that references to Tile-like item tracking tags were found in early iOS 13 betas in 2019 — two years before AirTags were actually announced. This means a new Siri Remote and Apple TV could be just around the corner, or it could still be a year or two away.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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