Alan Cannistraro Profile picture
Oct 21, 2020 12 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
RIP Remote. First app on the App Store; 14 years since I wrote its first line of code.…
Quick facts: 1) I started writing it in 2006, before I could even see the iPhone UI (I made my own UI elements); 2) When Steve saw it, he was nervous the App Store wouldn’t be a hit, so he wanted Apple to have apps (we also had Hold’Em)
3) It was the first production App the App Store team used to test their upload flow to the Store, hence first app on the App Store!
4) While we shipped it only with iTunes and Apple TV control, my prototype also allowed me to turn on/off lights, TVs and Receivers (via an IR adaptor), and save and resume a room’s state as a “Scene”.
5) A year later (2009) I had also built prototypes in Remote that would let your phone touchscreen be your mouse for your computer, and to interact with photos, applications (the original TouchBar) and screensavers on your Mac.
6) In 2010, I sat down with with Steve to show him how Remote controlled Apple TV with swipes, and he said, “our next Apple TV Remote should be this without a screen”. It took five years (lots of stuff paused when Steve died), but eventually Siri Remote came out and was just that
7) I was pitching a larger idea around device communication that never got off the ground (too early?). Predecessor to HomeKit & AirPlay. I had devices from Denon, Marantz, Sharp that spoke a protocol I designed so you could turn them on/off, change inputs and volume, tone, etc.
8) In 2010, after forum threads started complaining that Remote had stagnated, a blog post by @agarwal came out saying Apple was run like a startup and that Remote was written by one guy, and that I was busy. I got in trouble for that post. :) Apple didn’t understand social media
9) I have lots more stories to share, but I have a real human baby coming in a few hours, so I need to go attend to that. Ask me in person, preferably with a drink (socially distanced of course, but SF bars did reopen today!)
10) The ultimate vision for Remote still has not been realized, by anyone. The home is still a disjointed experience. HomeKit and Alexa are getting us closer, but there is still much to do to make the rooms we live in into elegant, ambient, intelligent experiences. Working on it.
11) The name originally considered for Remote was “iControl”. But some management felt it was too audacious.
One more tidbit: in ‘08, @FlyingEagleBear @otherlygarrett and I had a working prototype of widgets on Apple TV, controlled by Remote: Stocks, weather, even an American Idol voting widget. So many ideas...

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