Apple TVs from the second and third generations came with the old aluminium Apple Remote (2010 and 2012). The middle of the D-pad ring is a Select button, which isn't evident from looking at it. Apple TV HD (a.k.a. 4th generation Apple TV) and 1st generation Apple TV 4K both came with the despicable black Siri Remote (2015 and 2017).
When the Apple TV 4K was released, Apple made one small change: the Menu button was given a raised white ring, but the rest of the remote remained unchanged. In Apple's help pages, they aren't even mentioned as separate remotes.
The Siri Remote in black even has a button that doesn't look like a button: the entire top of the remote is a clickable trackpad surface.
It works in the same way as a laptop trackpad in terms of swiping and clicking to perform actions.
I've never liked the black Siri Remote, but I've developed a strong dislike for it after six years of using it. It's infuriating because it's so obviously a poor concept. It's been around for so long — six long years — that you've undoubtedly read all of the questions about it. Here are a few of them:
- Since the buttons are centered, it's simple to pick them up backward.
- Since the entire top of the remote is clickable, it's easy to accidentally click the trackpad while picking it up. Depending on the current background, this pauses whatever is playing or does something else. It's never a positive thing.
- Since it's a high-gloss surface with (apparently) no oleophobic coating, the glossy bottom half never looks good in real life. A remote control is supposed to be touched, but Apple chose a surface texture that looks bad as soon as it's touched unless you're wearing gloves when watching TV, in which case the capacitive trackpad won't work.
- It's black and doesn't have any backlighting, making it difficult to see in the dark. Some people, I believe, like to watch movies in dimly lit rooms.
The new aluminium Siri Remote comes with the new Apple TV 4K 2nd generation looks, sounds, and works like the black Siri Remote. Only look at the three of them: the latest aluminium Siri Remote seems to be a direct replacement for the Apple Remote from 2012.
- If you have an Apple TV, pour yourself a glass of champagne. This new Siri Remote is perfect. It's easily my favorite Apple TV remote of all time, and I've been watching the bulk of my TV on Apple TV for over a decade.
- For the past week, I've been using one, and here's what I like about it: In your hands, it feels fantastic. It's a nice piece with a lot of weight to it. The bottom seems to be all sturdy aluminium. The old aluminium Apple Remote is 33 grams, the dingy black Siri Remote is 45 grams, and the fresh Siri Remote is 63 grams. That's still lighter than other remotes (my TiVo remote weighs 163g), so no one can worry about it being a brick.
- It would be less likely to get lost or slip between sofa cushions because it is larger and thicker.
- A trackpad is located in the middle of the D-pad. It's dubbed a "clickpad with touch surface" by Apple, which is a good description. You never make the mistake of swiping or pressing it by chance.
- The simple concept of having a swipe-able touch surface is the one redeeming feature of the goofy black Siri Remote. With this in mind, tvOS was created.
- It's an excellent way to navigate the tvOS app, and the Focus UI interface was created specifically for it.
- The latest remote's clickpad with touch surface is excellent for scrolling lists and other similar tasks. It's large enough, but since it's not edge-to-edge, you'll never accidentally activate it.