It seems to be the purpose of the media these days to make you unhappy about living in an age of miracles, so let me do my part.
First, back up a titch. Last year Apple introduced phones ... in color! Look, suckers! Faint tints! Of course the mindless, fashion-added heeple snapped them up. (Mine is blue.) Last week they announced new computers ... in color! They are aimed at the same style-addled cult members who are so shallow they want their phones to match their computers. (I preordered the blue one.)
They also announced a new product called AirTags. It's a coin-sized plastic object you attach to something so you can find it with your phone. Can't find your car keys? Just call up an app, ask it to find the keys, and it'll tell you where it is.
Sounds pretty cool, no? Well, someone at verge.com sat down, thought very hard about this and came up with the downside: "Apple's new iPad Pros and TV remote don't have U1 locaters to help find them in your couch."
That's right — you cannot use your phone to find your missing TV remote. Oh, the horror!
There is only one situation in which this might be relevant and important:
You're leaving the house. You think: "I must remember to watch that show tonight; it's the season finale. I've set the TV to record it, but that doesn't mean I'll remember to watch it. I could tie a string around my finger, but we don't have any string. OK, I'll put a rubber band around my wrist to remind me to buy string. But how can I remember to watch the show?
"I know! I'll tuck the remote in my shoe. It's thin, so it won't be uncomfortable, but I'll feel it from time to time, and remember to watch the show tonight."
So you put the remote in your shoe and walk out of the house, unaware that someone a block away has picked up the scent of rotten eggs, wondered if it's a gas leak, and thought, "I'll light a match to narrow down the list of possible reasons for this telltale odor."
The explosion knocks you down and blows your shoes off. You're fine. But the remote was thrown a great distance. When you come to your senses, you realize that you've not only lost the reminder to watch TV, you've lost the remote that made it possible. If only Apple had connected the remote to your phone! This wouldn't have happened when Steve Jobs was alive. The dude was all about the details.
I can't think of any other situation in which you need to find your remote remotely. My remote never leaves the room where the TV sits. Same with yours. Oh, it might get wedged in the sofa cushions, but even if you sit on the sofa naked, and it makes what scientists call "a cleft transference" and leave the room, it's still close.
The AppleTV remote is tiny, with just a few buttons. This is how it should be. Before I ran all our streaming services through the AppleTV, I had many remotes. The TV's remote was somewhat shorter than a State Fair neon-hued giveaway yardstick, and it had 436 buttons. One of the buttons is called "Jump," and I was disappointed to find it did not make characters on the screen suddenly leap. I would have loved to use that feature while watching Perry Mason.
This remote is almost identical to the DVD player remote, because the designers thought, "How can we make a woman who has worked hard all day mash buttons in frustration because nothing works, ending with her calling her husband's name with that particular barbed intonation that makes him feel responsible before he even knows what he is accused of doing, and results in him calmly handing her the proper remote, which is even more irritating, because why is this remote even sitting here on the divan when it doesn't do the right thing?"
To make matters worse, the DVD remote is littered with meaningless buttons that exist only to frustrate people who just ... want ... to ... watch ... a ... damned ... movie. It has buttons like "Top Menu" and "Angle" instead of a button that says "Play movie without Interpol copyright notice in 16 languages including what appears to be Turkish," which is all you want to do.
The solution to remote confusion was simple: hiding the DVD remote and never renting any more DVDs. Now the AppleTV remote handles everything. It will never get lost.
My wife disagreed. "You could put it in the fridge," she said. What? "You could have it in your hand," she said, "go to get a snack, and leave it in the fridge."
This highly specific set of circumstances suggests this has, in fact, occurred.
"No, but I left my phone in the cupboard the other day."
I did not pursue the matter, because she is incredibly busy, has 9,000 things coming at her all the time, and it is easy to imagine her putting the phone in the cupboard and giving the dog a pencil instead of a rawhide because she is processing 432 e-mails.
When I get my AirTags, I'll put one on the remote. My wife can text me: "Where is the remote?" And I can look at my phone and text back: "In the fridge."
Too bad the fridge is stainless steel and doesn't match the remote or the phone. We might have to get a new one.
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