Yesterday Apple released tvOS 9.1 for the new fourth-gen Apple TV which adds support for the Remote app on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch just like the previous Apple TV model. This makes setup and text input much easier from iPhones and iPads as you can use the software keyboard versus relying on swiping left and right across a keyboard, but many have wondered if Apple would update the Remote app to offer features more like the new Siri Remote for Apple TV. Apple’s Eddy Cue says the answer is definitely, speaking with Buzzfeed, and it’s coming during the first half of next year…

Sony A6500

“We’re working on a new Apple TV remote app that will give you the full functionality of the Siri Remote on your iPhone,” Cue said. “We’re hoping to ship that in the first half of next year.”

That’s especially good news to fans of the iPhone’s Remote app that just find it more convenient to use. The new Apple TV’s Siri features are neat, but it’s often easier to control it with the iPhone already in your hand rather than hunting down the little black controller. It’ll also be useful in situations where you find yourself needing to replace the $80 remote. Lastly, Cue sharing that Apple is developing a more featured Remote app for iOS is a change from the no comment given between the Apple TV’s launch at the end of October and yesterday’s fix. The open communication is welcomed.

The interview highlighted Apple’s new Apps of the Year list, and Cue shared that Apple TV now has more than 2,000 apps available on the platform. He didn’t talk about the rumored TV service that has been expected from Apple, but he did discuss the new Apple TV as a gaming platform:

“I think the vast majority of people around the world probably aren’t looking to buy an Xbox or PlayStation. But that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy playing games. I think Apple TV expands the gaming market to those people.”

And an opportunity for news delivery during the US election season:

“There’s so much interest in the current presidential election across so many age groups and demographics, etc. — there is a huge opportunity there. If was a news guy covering the elections I’d create an Apple TV channel. If I was one of the candidates I’d create an Apple TV channel.”

From my count, at least one candidate actually has an Apple TV channel so he may be on to something. You can read the full interview here.