Remote in Review – A Perfect Extension to iTunes/ Apple TV

remote1Initially when Apple came out with its first iPhone/ iPod Touch app on the App Store, the Remote app, I just wasn’t interested in installing it, even though it was free. This was because whenever I was listening to music, I would be within reach of my computer, and therefore really don’t need the redundant control on my iPhone. However, when I recently bought an Apple TV to put next to my TV, I decided to give the application a go.

This application is a very simple one; once I set it up to connect to my desired iTunes library or Apple TV, (for this review, I’ll be only controlling my Apple TV), it will then give you an interface much like the iPod function on an iPhone, or the Music function on any iPod Touch.

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As can be seen from the above screen shot, it is just so familiar that I won’t even bother describing how good and efficient this interface is, since it offers everything the normal iPod function does on the OS X iPhone platform. Tapping on the artist will give you the songs by that artist organized by albums, and then clicking on the album names will give you the individual songs. Clicking on the song will then give you a “Now Playing” screen as expected.

However, given that it’s a remote app which controls another library, it does have some deficiencies in comparison to the actual local iPod application. For example, the loading of album art is quite slow, since it has to come from your library via WiFi; turning the device sideways will not give you CoverFlow; and that when the device goes into sleep mode, it does lose its track in terms of navigation.

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The biggest deficiency of this app, however, is that when the Apple TV is in standby mode, the app cannot wake it up; I still have to grab my remote control.

These deficiencies aside, it does offer a search function which the local app doesn’t have; a nice addition although just like loading of the album art, it does take a bit of time.

Now, in regards to the overall usefulness of the app, I find that coupled with the Apple TV it is actually very useful. Before when I planned on buying the Apple TV, I had an hesitation that whenever I want to just listen to music I have to keep my TV on to control it with the bundled remote control. Although the device had a built-in screen saver, I just didn’t like it because it wasted power. However, with this Remote app, all I needed to do is to turn on my Apple TV, my stereo for sound and with my iPhone I’m ready to enjoy music. It just seems a logical extension to the Apple TV. With controlling the computer’s iTunes library, I find it to be redundant, unless a person streams his/ her music via Airport Express in another room.

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App Summary
Title:RemoteDeveloper:Apple
Price:FreeApp Size:1.1 mb
  • No need to learn interface as it’s the same as controlling music on iPhone/ iPod Touch
  • TV less control of Apple TV, thus saving power
  • Search Function
  • Slow when loading album art over WiFi
  • Doesn’t remember the navigation track once the device goes to sleep
  • Won’t wake up Apple TV without the help of its original remote control

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