tvOS 14.5 beta may hint at a redesigned Apple TV remote with a ‘center button’

Along with rumors swirling around that Apple is planning on introducing a new Apple TV set-top box, a new remote is expected to come along with it. And now tvOS is popping in to throw a reference our way to that potential future, too.

As reported today by MacRumors, the latest developer beta Apple seeded for tvOS 14.5 references a new Apple TV remote. One that’s equipped with a “Center Button”. As you can imagine, that doesn’t necessarily describe the current Apple TV remote in any meaningful way, so it does seem to hint that a new, redesigned remote is in the works.

Within tvOS 14.5’s code, it reads, “Press the center button or the touch surface to continue”. You can see that reference in the tweet from developer Steve Moser just below:

Now, as noted in the original report, there may be a hiccup here. The fourth- and fifth-generation Apple TV does not have a remote with a center button equipped. However, the old “Apple Remote” does include a center button — and that remote is available for the older second- and third-generation set-top boxes. What’s more, that older remote is also compatible with the current Apple TV models, so this line of code could be referencing that.

From the report:

The specific code that was found is in a “setup” app, which would make more sense for a new remote rather than an older remote, but we don’t know for sure that this is a reference to a new ‌Apple TV‌ remote option. If it is indeed something new, the upcoming ‌Apple TV‌ remote could perhaps feature a design similar to the remote app on the iPhone, which features a large touch area, a main center Menu button, and side buttons for accessing Siri, play/pause, the Home screen, and search.

So, nothing guaranteed here. But it could very well be a hint that new hardware is indeed coming down the pipeline.

In related news, Apple recently dropped the reference to “Siri Remote” from tvOS 14.5, and renamed the “Home Button” to “TV Button”. So, those could be additional clues that something new is in the works. And of course, it was reported just recently that Apple is indeed working on a redesigned Apple TV remote, adding fuel to that particular fire.