Sunday, June 13, 2010

Apple Remote - the Whole World in Your Hands

Something that doesn't receive much attention is the Apple Remote control.

What?! A remote control for a computer? I hear you ask.

That's right, for the past few years now the Apple Remote has come with all Apple computers. It looks and functions a lot like the iPod, in fact most people say "is that an iPod?" when they first see it.

All Apple computers come with the standard communication technologies built in - wi-fi, bluetooth, bit did you know your Mac also has infrared? Like the TV remote control, the Apple Remote communicates via infrared. It's very responsive - I've been able to use it from another room by bouncing it off walls. Apple claims it can function at distances of up to 30 feet and I can attest to that, having used the remote to control my dinner party playlist from outside through a window.

It is REALLY useful to control the music. I use it many times every day as my computer is hooked up to an amplifier and functions as my main music player. But the remote can do much more than interact with iTunes enabling you to change the volume and skip tracks.

Front Row
There is also a Menu button and this opens up a whole new world. Sit back, get comfy, and push this button. You'll be launched into the world of Apple entertainment!

Any music on iTunes via playlist, album, artist, etc, can be accessed. You can even access the latest & most popular music videos and watch previews.

You can access your photo collection and flick through those or just watch a slide show with added background music. This is a pretty good way of showing off your photos to others.

All your movies are accessible and controllable via the Apple Remote meaning your computer really can become your personal entertainment unit. There is even a section where you can watch the latest movie previews in full high def quality.

Other Programs
The Remote works with other programs too. Quicktime or even VLC can also be controlled with the Apple Remote. Try it with other programs, you'll be surprised.

If all this wasn't enough for you, then you'll be interested to know that there are programs that have been developed to expand the use of the Apple Remote even further. Mira lets you add access to other programs than the standard ones that Front Row currently provides. Remote Buddy gives you control over more than 100 applications, virtual keyboard and mouse, presentations, media center software and important system settings.

There are also programs like 'Back Stage', 'Center Stage', 'Media Center', 'Boxee' and 'Live Station' that give even more entertainment functionality to the Apple Remote than Front Row provides.

CenterStage UI Demo from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

Apple have recently released a new Apple Remote, which is much larger. This one works with the iPod and iPhone also. Here is what it looks like:

Thank you and good night
I'll end with one more tip for your Apple Remote though there are plenty more that were note covered in this short article.

At the end of the day you can simply put your Mac to sleep by holding down the play button for a few seconds until your Mac's screen goes black.


Apple Remote
Pairing your Apple Remote with your computer
How to replace the battery in your Apple Remote

* Photo by raybdbomb, some rights reserved.
* Photo by kumazo, some rights reserved.

* Final note: I even put it through a full wash cycle...twice. After the second time it required a battery change but still works fine.

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