With the debut of Apple TV 4K a few weeks ago, a new and improved Siri Remote was also introduced. Compared to its predecessor which had a touchpad, this one has a clickable D-Pad while retaining a circular touch-sensitive area in the middle for gestures. It has a cool jogwheel function that is a sweet callback to iPod’s scrollwheel, while the Siri button now sits on the side – easier to find and less prone to accidental press. But one area where it missed the mark is the lack of a tracking feature.
A lot of early adopters are complaining that Apple could have fitted an AirTag inside the new Siri Remote, making it easier to find an item that often gets misplaced. If not an AirTag, the company could have at least equipped it with an Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip to make locating it easier when it inevitably gets buried in your couch cushions or your pet takes it for a fetch game. Apple, on the other hand, thinks that the new Siri Remote is too big to be lost within the folds and fissures your couch.
The weird explanation (read: excuse) was given by Apple’s VP of Product Marketing for Home and Audio, Tim Twerdahl, when asked whether the company considered adding a tracking feature to the Siri Remote. Here’s what the Apple executive said in an interview with MobileSyrup’s Patrick O’Rourke:
Patirk O’Rourke: Was there ever any thought to adding some sort of AirTag-like technology in the Siri remote? I’m always losing the remote in my couch cushions and it seems like it would be a great idea. Did Apple not bother because the ‘Find My’ network is more designed for use outside of the home?
Tim Twerdahl: We are super excited about AirTags and what we’re doing with U1, and part of that power is the Find My network and the fact that we can leverage a billion devices around the world to help you find stuff. To your point, that is the most powerful out of the home. With the changes we’ve made to the Siri Remote — including making it a bit thicker so it won’t fall in your couch cushions as much — that need to have all these other network devices find it seems a little bit lower.
Apple has its own way of doing things
If Apple said that it skipped the tracking hardware due to technical limitations or even to keep the price in check – although the Apple TV 4K is not cheap by any means – potential buyers would’ve slept peacefully. But hey, Apple is no stranger to weird product decisions and subsequent explanations. From the iPhone 4’s Antennagate aka ‘You’re holding it wrong’ fiasco to making a mouse that you can’t use while charging, this company’s track record is far from being spotless.
Apple has its own way of doing things. Even though the company has tasted some well-known failure, leading to apologies (Tim Cook saying sorry for the gazillion Apple Maps issues) and product suspension (famously putting the ‘Power Mac G4 Cube on Ice’), the company has survived multiple disasters. But at the end of the day, users have to live with it.
On a side note, I’m writing this on a MacBook which has no other port except USB-C, forcing me to spend extra on a hub for connecting other accessories. Apple might reason that eradicating other ports was a wise decision because USB-C is the future. But now, we’re hearing from credible sources that the upcoming MacBook Pro will bring back the HDMI port and SD card slot. So much for a future-proof laptop that set me back by over a grand, all within a year!