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Apple's Eddy Cue hints at new Remote app for Apple TV, says over half of fourth-gen buyers are upgraders

Apple is at work on a new iOS remote app that will fully replicate the functions of the Siri Remote bundled with the fourth-generation Apple TV, according to the company's senior VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue.

The app should arrive "in the first half of next year," Cue said in a BuzzFeed News interview. He didn't elaborate on details, but full functionality would imply being able to trigger the Apple TV's voice commands for search and playback.

Tuesday's release of tvOS 9.1 enabled support for the existing Remote app. This mainly lets users swipe around using iOS devices or the Apple Watch, and on iOS, type much faster than when using the Siri Remote.

Cue also commented that "a little over half" of Apple TV buyers are coming from the third-generation model, while most of the rest are completely new to the platform. Apple faces a much tougher media player market in 2015, with serious competition from Roku, Google, and Amazon. The Apple TV is the most expensive set-top in the bunch, starting at $149.

Aside from streaming video, games have been "pretty hot" on the new model, according to Cue. He suggested that like the iPhone, the new Apple TV is appealing to casual gamers who might not be prepared to buy something like an Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

"I think Apple TV expands the gaming market to those people," he said.