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Roku hits the Apple Watch, but not in the way you think

Roku is launching a new version of its app for iPhone, which introduces support for the Apple Watch.

After the popular streaming devices gained access to the Apple TV app, ahead of the Apple TV Plus launch, the company is now bringing its remote control functionality to the wrist.

The ability to navigate around the Roku OS by tapping on the display is complemented by voice search functionality, which will make it easier to launch apps, switch TV inputs and more.

Handily, if you’ve lost your actual remote for the Roku-based TV, streaming stick or set top box, the company is adding the ability to send a tone to help you find it.

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Apple already offers a similar remote app for its own set-top box, so it’s nice to see a third-party get in on the action too. It would be interesting to know whether Apple would be so forthcoming if not for the quid pro quo of Apple TV+ coming to Roku devices.

Here’s what Roku is promising from the Apple Watch app, which appears in version 6.1.3 of the iPhone release, out today (via 9to5Mac):

  • Remote – Control your Roku device directly from Apple Watch. It’s the same easy to use remote from the mobile app – just sized for your wrist!
  • Launch channels – Quickly launch channels on your TV with one tap of the watch screen. Channels are listed in order of most recently launched for your convenience.
  • Voice Search – Simply tap the voice icon in the app and say commands like “Launch Hulu,” “search for comedies,” “switch to HDMI 1” for your Roku TV, and much more. Available on select Roku devices and Roku TV models.
  • Remote finder – Lost your remote again? Use the Roku app for Apple Watch to signal your Roku remote and it will play an audible chime so you can find it in the couch cushions. Available on the Roku Ultra and select Roku TV models.

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