The Apple remote is a pretty simplistic device with limited features, it does what it does nothing more , nothing less.
First impressions are that it's thin , really thin , its not only the thinnest remote I've ever held in my hand , but im pretty sure its one of the thinnest things produced by Apple that I have held in my hand.
How does it work?
When it comes to getting it to work , all I had to do was pull it out, point it at my Mac Mini and click play , you could say that "It Just Works". If iTunes isn't open when you click play , then it will be opened to the relavent place for you. This feature however has a downside ,if you have more than one Mac in the room this thing will control both , so when I had my laptop open and used the device ,musical chaos ensued.
For the home user who wants to use it for iTunes the relevance of the device is questionable ,though it is handy to quickly grab and turn down the volume or change a song, the iTunes Remote app on iOS gives you a lot more control. The menu button on the Mac seems to do absolutely nothing which spurred me into looking beyond the "Just works" thing and looking under System Preferences > Security & privacy . Here clicking the Pair button instructs you on how to pair the remote ,which is an easy task. However pairing does not make the menu button work as this functionality has apparently been removed from Mountain Lion and I still had that crazy MacBook playing music in the background every time I did something, the latter problem however was solved by simply checking "Disable remote control infrared receiver" on the offending MacBook.
Keynote seems to be the application in which this remote truly shines, in here the menu button works(insert applause here) and gives me the option to move through a list of slides. Interestingly I've never used keynote with my dual screen setup which gave me a fullscreen presentation on the primary monitor and an overview of my slides and what was coming up next on my secondary , this could be very useful in a presentation if the presenter has a secondary monitor facing them that no-one else can see.
|Keynote on primary monitor|
|Keynote on secondary monitor|
The remote also works for iPhoto slideshows so that one day when you have grandchildren you can dust off that ancient 2011 Mac Mini and show them the pictures of the old days that you took with your brick of an iPhone 5. One could do this right now if you are old enough , but the lack of ancient technology spoils the mood for these types of things , if you have grandchildren , rather pass on this idea to them and let them show it to their kids, the point is to make them be like , "WOH , the iPhone 5 didn't have a coffee machine , man , how did you guys survive?" (went slightly off topic there).
The bottom line
So at the end of the day if you do a lot of Keynote presentations or iPhoto slideshows , this little device is must have and is small enough to fit in your pocket.
For the home user intending to use it for iTunes though, it is very simplistic and not as powerful as the remote app on iOS , it seems that in this department it is more aimed at controlling an Apple TV, or pranking anyone in the room working on a Mac (Awesome coffee shop prank material here, and its small enough to fit in your pocket,WIN! ).
I do look forward to seeing how it performs in the long term though and seeing if I can find any apps that can maybe enhance or take advantage of the devices capabilities .