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Friday
Feb042011

Is Apple Experimenting With Touch-Like Behavior for the AppleTV 2?

I use a Harmony remote to control all of my AV setups.  It's a one-stop remote to control all of your AV devices and includes time saving "activity" buttons.

I've been noticing that occasionally, when I choose to watch something using an Apple TV 2, it will display a wiggling podcast (or other) icon.  The same kind of wiggling you get on an iPhone or an iPad when you select an app.  This grabbed my attention, and by the time I could find a camera, the screensaver had kicked in, and I couldn't reproduce it. Well I finally figured out how to regularly get the AppleTV into this mode, and when I did, I also found that I could reorganize the icons just like you can organize apps on iOS.  All of this is done just using the Harmony remote which is key in getting the AppleTV 2 into this mode as it's only when a specific set of IR commands are issued to the other devices in my AV setup.

So, is this behavior intentionally included for future use(s)? Does everyone know about this but me? Or is this simply an oversight and this iOS code was never intended to be executed without a touch screen?

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Reader Comments (5)

Intriguing.
Which devices are you using? What commands are being issued?

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkorhojoa

You press and hold the select button on the remote and the icons shake to indicate you can rearrange icons like on iPhone/iPad. What you found is a documented feature.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFriendly

You don't need a Harmony Remote to do this. This is a regular feature of the Apple TV2. Just hold down the select button on your little aluminum Apple remote. There are quite a few instances where holding down the select button gives you extra options.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternewagemac

This is a feature that I did not know about, but am not really surprised it is the case. And no you don't need a Harmony remote to do this, just hold the select button on the regular apple remote.

But here's why I still think this post is important: The little guide book for the Apple TV 2G doesn't tell you about this feature, nor all the other little features of Apple TV that make it more capable then you might originally think. the result is that all these useful features are "discovered" later on by accident. I would have appreciated it if these "hidden" features were actually documented somewhere that most ATV buyers were likely to look, like the instruction booklet. They aren't.

For example, I found out (by asking around on apple forums) that it is possible to save a radio station as a "favorite" by moving the cursor over the station and holding the select button, which brings up a small dialog box that asks "add as favorite?". This is great because now I can have only my favorite radio stations on a short list when I select the radio option. However, this method of selecting a favorite is inconsistent with other parts of the Apple TV. When you want to favorite a podcast, for example, you just move the cursor onto it and press (but not hold) the select button, and you get another screen with information about the podcast (picture, description, related podcasts, etc.) where you can click either to play it or to add it as a favorite. But that description screen doesn't exist for the radio stations, so up until I checked the forums I thought it was impossible to favorite a radio station.

Another example, when you are watching a video on ATV, you can hit the "up" button to see the progress bar without pausing it or anything. But if you hit "up" again at this point, you get a nice description box overlaid on the video that gives you info about what you're watching. This is cool, but I only discovered it by accident. I don't think it's in the booklet.

Is there some other place where Apple has documented features like this? I'm sure there are additional little tricks that I would find useful.

February 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdgalvan123

i like your boobs

February 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermemyselfeye

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