As someone who loves the Apple TV 4K, I’m really annoyed by one stupid flaw. No, it’s not the price. Apple’s sky-high $179 price tag for a 4K tvOS device is something I’m done talking about. Currently? I’m looking at a feature I wish Apple would copy from Roku and Fire TV. Because while the Apple TV 4K is one of the best streaming devices, it’s not perfect.
I call it a “dumb” problem because it’s not the kind of thing Apple would be blamed for adding. It’s not even something that Apple would be accused of copying from these competitors, because it’s actually a very obvious thing they’ve removed on the new Siri Remote.
Apple TV remote must go home
All I’m asking is that Apple add a home button. How in 2022 does Apple sell a $179 streaming device, the remote control of which you can purchase separately for $59, where the remote is missing one of the most common buttons this side of fast forward and rewind? (Actually, I wish I had those buttons on the Apple remote, too.) But Apple, in its minimalist glory, doesn’t have them.
The left and right buttons (which are the sides of that circular navigation button) on the new Siri Remote allow you to move forward or back a bit, and these are the buttons I’m most worried about wearing out with excessive clicking .
But look at the remotes above and notice how Roku and Fire TV both give you back and home buttons. On Roku, they’re both at the top of the remote and on the first row of buttons on the Fire TV remote. On both remotes, the back button is to the left of the home button.
The back button and a home button – and the old Siri Remote had a menu button (but no back button) – are nice things to have. Currently the back button has a dual function, as a long press can take you back to the home screen, but a click (short press) can take you back one screen. I don’t know about you, but I want the option of just clicking a button to go home.
Apple, despite all its work, seems to know it. But its implementation is different.
Apple’s TV app isn’t home
Interestingly, the Apple TV Siri Remote offers such a twist on this situation, with the back button next to… the TV button, which opens the Apple TV app. It’s almost as if Apple wants you to believe that the TV app should be your home base.
The Apple TV app, if you’re not using it, has a queue of stuff you watch, and it’s also where you can find Apple TV Plus shows and movies, and the Apple TV store. Apple TV movies and shows and your purchases from this store. Unfortunately, the TV app lacks a lot of what makes the home screen… home.
First of all – and this is the obvious part that Amazon Fire TV and the Chromecast with Google TV don’t seem to understand – some of us don’t think about shows and movies. These devices both put a content-centric approach to their devices, which is fine for some, but useless when I want to watch my favorite YouTube channels, open a Twitch stream, or watch a live event in Fite.
And while the Apple TV app integrates better with all the major apps — Netflix, by the way, isn’t there either — a home button is still a good idea.
Right now I’m playing hopscotch to get to the home screen, clicking the TV button, then clicking the back button. It is not preferable. This is a workaround that I prefer to avoid. The only reason I could see Apple not wanting to do this would be broken symmetry, as adding an extra button would leave the remote looking uneven. But, hey, that “go back” button (a quick rewind) might solve that problem, right?