Platform: Apple iPhone/iPad and Apple TV
Think of Remote as an Apple loyalty bonus. If you stuck with iTunes through the bad times and the worse, if you jumped on the iPad with all the enthusiasm of a trampolining three-year old on Sunny D, if you signed up for Apple TV despite not really knowing what you’d use it for, well, now your time has come.
Put these three things together (and why not chuck in an iPhone 4 if there’s one handy?), add the free Remote app and you’ve instantly got one of the most powerful and best-looking home media systems available.
Open up Remote on the iPhone or iPad, turn on Home Sharing and sign in to your account. Your portable gizmo can now control your desktop iTunes or the Apple TV stream, using all your usual playlists, artist, album and song lists, Genius, movies and more. It takes just a few seconds to work out where all the controls and buttons are, with the iPad particularly giving a superbly sensible – and responsive – interface.
If you really want to mess with your head, hit the Control icon in the menu bar. You now get a blank screen where you can swipe and glide your fingers to control the Apple TV on-screen, breezing through its few menus and double-tapping to select. Predictably enough, this is actually easier on the smaller screen of the iPhone than the massive iPad.
Even more impressively, you can control your PC and your Apple TV simultaneously from two different iPads or iPhones, and adjust volume on individual AirPlay speakers separately.
Any drawbacks? Well, the song and album list don’t have letters on the side to aid navigation, the Control icon tends to be elusive just when you want it, and the Search function (very) occasionally stopped working. That aside, Remote isn’t just a smart, well made media controller, it’s the first killer app for Apple TV. An essential for all-Apple households.