Apple Remote First Generation vs Second Generation

Posted by Umair Abbasi on Nov. 25, 2010 in Technology

At the time of writing this post, I own both generations of Apple’s remote as most Apple users around the world probably do. Here is my take on the two.

My Usage of the Remote

First things first I need to clear out  that I don’t use the remote for any business functions like controlling my powerpoint/keynote presentations. The only purpose for these remotes have been for home media purposes.

I have a Plex media setup on my Mac mini connected to my flat screen T.V. and use the first generation Apple remote as my front-end interface to the media library. Via the Apple remote I can browse through my decent size of movies, T.V. shows, music library, pictures, etc. So first generation Apple remote for my living room entertainment setup.

In my bedroom I have a 27-in iMac that runs boxee which among other things does similar things I do with my Mac mini in the living room such as watching movies, T.V. shows, etc. I am using the second generation Apple remote in the bedroom.

Look and Feel

Here are some images for the looks perspective.

I will leave it up to individual taste and preferences on determining which one is more stunning looking. In terms of feel I prefer the feel of the second generation metallic remote as opposed to the plastic feel of the first generation. Something about that temperature cool metal feel in your hand I prefer. What I don’t really care much for is the size of the second gen remote. My assumptions on the extended length of the remote are probably due to the thinning out of the remote.

You see the white plastic first gen remote is thicker than the second gen. Assuming for Apple to cramp in the same functionality in a thinner remote the reduced space needed to be migrated to some other part of the remote. In this case the resulting increase in length of the remote.


Both remotes perform exactly the same functionality. There are no hidden eggs here that the other one does better in terms of the functions they perform. But (yes there is always a but) I have found the second gen remote much more responsive than the first gen. The response rate is much better on the first click.

On the first gen remote I find myself sometime doing the ever so familiar wave with my arm trying to get the IR-receiver to accept my clicks. But (yes another but) of course this is no determination on second gen is better than the other in terms of sending IR signals to your IR-receiver. A true scientific reasoning would be trying the same remote with the same device under the same conditions. Please forgive me to say, I am not very inclined in delving that deep.


I love the first gen remote. It’s just the perfect size and grip. The buttons on the first gen are more protruding that it enables much easier functionality without actually having to look at the remote to see what you are clicking.

I love the feel of the material on the second gen remote. The buttons are flat and I have found myself many times having to look at the remote to see what my finger is clicking on.

I would have really preferred it if Apple had taken the material from the second generation remote and applied it on the first generation without changing anything else. Well, maybe making it a wireless/bluetooth remote instead of IR would have been a decent addition too.

Thanks for reading and feel free to vent in the comments section.

apple, mac mini, boxee, remote, plex

Other Good Reads

Audio tape recording reel
Why not Google Duplex it?

Nov. 27, 2018

The California morning on my walk to work.
Love on the Morning Walk

Nov. 7, 2018

Umair and Yulia in Istanbul
Umair and Yulia, the coincidence

Oct. 25, 2018

Horses by a jogging track in Utrecht, Netherlands
My fascination with horses

Sept. 26, 2018