Lurking under the hood of Apple's freshly-updated Remote app for iPhone are the beginnings of a powerful media center remote control application. Say goodbye to Apple's skinny, white Front Row remote because you can now using your iPhone (or iPod touch) to control your Apple TV instead.
Apple quietly-revved its previously iTunes-only Remote application to version 1.3 which now controls both the Apple TV and AirTunes connected speakers -- and it's a potent combination. In fact, it's peculiar that Apple chose to label such a major revision to Remote as simple dot release, it's certainly worthy of being called 2.0.
Remote 1.3 has the ability to control the Apple TV just like it did with iTunes before it. Just launch the app and connect to your Apple TV's library via settings (if you haven't already, now's a good time to connect to your iTunes library as well), then add the iPhone as a remote on the Apple TV (Settings > Remotes). Where it gets compelling is a new "Control" interface in Remote that allows you to use simple gestures on the iPhone to control the Apple TV.
With a flick of your finger, you can browse through your media collection or search for new movies and TV shows on the iTunes Store. Tap to select and play. To find something specific, use the QWERTY keyboard and tap out the title.
The updated Remote app just made the Apple TV about 1000 times easier to use and that sound you hear is thousands of dinky white Front Row remotes being tossed into the trash. TechCrunch has posted two videos of Remote 1.3 in action and all the features are listed on both the product page and on the App Store.
Update: Remote was able to control AppleTV before version 1.3. The gesture and AirTunes control is new.Thanks to @yellowhandman for the correction.