Earlier this week, Apple removed its Apple TV Remote app for the App Store now that the functionality is baked into Control Center on iPhone and iPad. Following the removal, a former Apple engineer has shared a few interesting tidbits about the development of the Apple TV Remote app for iPhone.
In a thread on Twitter, former Apple engineer and designer Alan Cannistraro detailed the process of creating the Apple TV Remote app for iPhone. Cannistraro writes that he started writing the app in 2006, before he could even see the rest of the iPhone user interface. The app ended up being the first production app that the “App Store team used to test their upload flow to the Store.”
The app shipped with only iTunes and Apple TV control, but various prototypes were actually more powerful. In fact, the original name considered for the Remote app was iControl.
While we shipped it only with iTunes and Apple TV control, my prototype also allowed me to turn on/off lights, TVs and Receivers (via an IR adaptor), and save and resume a room’s state as a “Scene”.
A year later (2009) I had also built prototypes in Remote that would let your phone touchscreen be your mouse for your computer, and to interact with photos, applications (the original TouchBar) and screensavers on your Mac.
In 2010, Cannistraro says that he sat down with Steve Jobs to show him how the Remote app was able to control the Apple TV with swipes and gestures. This is what ultimately inspired the Siri Remote design:
In 2010, I sat down with with Steve to show him how Remote controlled Apple TV with swipes, and he said, “our next Apple TV Remote should be this without a screen”. It took five years (lots of stuff paused when Steve died), but eventually Siri Remote came out and was just that.
Nowadays, Cannistraro believes that the “ultimate vision” for Remote has yet to be realized:
The ultimate vision for Remote still has not been realized, by anyone. The home is still a disjointed experience. HomeKit and Alexa are getting us closer, but there is still much to do to make the rooms we live in into elegant, ambient, intelligent experiences. Working on it.
The full thread is well worth a read and can be found on Twitter here.
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