A reference to “SiriRemote4” and “WirelessRemoteFirmware.4” is buried deep inside the code for Apple’s latest mobile software, iOS 16, and was discovered by a contributor to AppleDB, an online database of Apple software and hardware.
Given that all prior Siri remotes (the two original touchpad editions, as well as the most recent silver model) have been accounted for by other references such as “SiriRemote3,” the conclusion is that Apple is preparing a fourth iteration of this gadget.
Is there still a reference to the Apple TV running tvOS in an iOS beta? On the one hand, it might just be that Apple needs to maintain its mobile remote capability, which is already integrated into the Control Center of an iPhone, current with any features that a new remote would provide.
We are super excited about AirTags and what we’re doing with U1, and part of that power is the Find My network and the fact that we can leverage a billion devices around the world to help you find stuff. To your point, that is the most powerful out of the home. With the changes we’ve made to the Siri Remote—including making it a bit thicker so it won’t fall in your couch cushions as much—that need to have all these other network devices find it seems a little bit lower.Vice President of Apple, Tim Twerdahl
The upcoming Apple TV remote may include a function that calls for (or at least benefits from) an iPhone, so this could also be the reason. And because to Apple’s AirTag technology, that feature might be a thorough Find My feature.
Apple’s coin-shaped trackers, known as AirTags, can be fastened to a number of items to help you locate them in the event that they are lost or stolen. An AirTag’s location can be roughly determined using an iPhone, but as you move closer to the tracker physically, ultra-wideband (UWB) technology takes over and uses Apple’s U1 chips to provide a very exact location.
If the tag isn’t visible, you can also make a sound. But here’s the thing: Only the most recent iPhone models; specifically, the iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13—have U1 chips.
Since the Apple TV does not contain an U1 chip, an iPhone is required to use the AirTag’s ultra-precise location data (or that of any Apple TV remote that has an AirTag implanted in it). This is why iOS 16 needed to incorporate Siri Remote references.
All of this is conjecture. Apple hasn’t said if it intends to include AirTag in the upcoming Apple TV remote, and neither the Apple TV hardware nor the tvOS operating system received much attention at the company’s recent annual developer conference.
However, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has expressed his opinion that the company would introduce a new Apple TV model near the end of 2022. This model will reportedly result in cost savings for Apple and maybe a lower pricing for consumers. I’m not sure if a new Apple TV will be released this year, but I can easily see Apple releasing a fourth-generation Siri remote for the Apple TV that supports AirTag and has a Find My feature in time for the holiday shopping season.