Apple and Microsoft are Using Advanced Controllers to Provide a Better User Experience

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There are few things more annoying than having to dig through couch cushions and overturn furniture to try to find the remote, but that tends to be a lot easier and less time-consuming than getting up and changing the channel right on the TV set. In that respect, remotes have completely revolutionized the way people watch TV. It’s hard to imagine flipping through 500 channels and searching for movies without simply pointing the remote. But today, remotes do far more than simply change the channel and get lost.

The first remote control, dubbed the “Lazy Bones,” was created by Zenith Electronics Corporation in 1952. It didn’t do much other than turn the TV on and off and change the channel. Nowadays, there are remotes and controllers for virtually every piece of technology, including TVs, stereos, and game systems.

In fact, this spring, Microsoft will release the official Xbox One Stereo headset that connects to the system’s controller to try to keep up with PlayStation 4. It will have the capacity to deliver full-game audio along with party chats by simply plugging into the controller. However, the new headset is not receiving exclusively-positive reviews.

“The official Xbox One Stereo Headset looks like a perfect match for the Xbox One console—meaning, it looks ugly and nondescript,” writes Sam Machkovech. “Its $79.99 price point and basic ‘20Hz – 20kHz audio spectrum’ description suggest that this will be a middle-tier set of gaming cans, but it will at least deliver full-game audio alongside friends’ chats when plugged into a controller.”

Interestingly, Microsoft might have to compete with other companies who produce headsets for the gaming and media system. Turtle Beach and Polk Audio both plan on shipping products that provide in-game audio in early March.

While Microsoft is working to try to keep up with its competition, Apple is working to stay a step ahead. The company is refreshing its approach with Apple TV and is rumored to be working to include a new TV tuner and wireless router technology. Essentially, the updates should make Apple TV more user-friendly and provide for higher-quality viewing.

“The reason for such a move, according to the report, is to improve video quality and stability. Existing Apple TV models have to connect to a separate wireless router, which may often be situated in another room,” says Jon Mundy.

But it is also possible to think that Apple is working to compete with Xbox One, which has positioned itself as a leader in offering both games and media.

“These claims follow reports last week that the new Apple TV would feature its own App Store, with a particular focus on games,” notes Mundy. “Essentially, this would turn the Apple TV into an affordable games console, complete with wireless games controller support.”

The remote will essentially make it possible for users to enjoy the entirety of Apple TV’s services without having to leave their couch. That is certainly a huge step forward from the original “Lazy Bones” design that was released more than a half century ago.

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