Apple TV Apps: Alto’s Adventure, Crossy Road, Plex and More

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alto’s Adventure is coming to Apple TV.

The fourth-generation Apple TV isn’t all that different from other streaming set-top boxes. While Apple hails it as the “future of TV,” the word from early reviews of the streaming puck indicate that the Apple TV holds plenty of potential, but isn’t quite revolutionary. The snowboarding game will be making its debut on Apple’s set-top box soon after the device starts shipping, and will feature support for both the included Siri remote and third-party controllers. (The iOS version, meanwhile, has also been updated with controller support.) It’ll be a universal app, so that you’ll only need to buy it once on either iOS or Apple TV, and will include support for iCloud saves, so you can share progress with the iPhone and iPad versions of the game. Alto’s Adventure first launched on iOS in February, and went on to become one of the best titles on the platform in quite some time — a much-anticipated Android version is also in the works. Siri’s universal search is being lauded by early reviewers as the new Apple TV’s best feature, letting you find content across multiple services without having to remember which one has what, or inadvertently paying to buy or rent content you could stream for free with a subscription.

An API will let developers add universal search to their own apps, so presumably other music streaming services could jump on board, like Pandora and Rdio, which both have apps for other set-top boxes such as the Roku and Fire TV. The story behind the story: When Tim Cook told BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski that Apple would open the universal search API, he said, “It should be very simple.” But as of yet we don’t have a solid idea of how simple developers will find it—in other words, how long users like us will have to wait for more apps to support universal search.

The streaming boxes on the market right now all compete to do very few simple things: get everything you want to watch in a single place, make it all easy to search and discover, and get out of the way. The fact that Apple Music, which presumably had a head-start, will need another couple months at the least might mean that “simple” is a bit of a stretch.

Earlier this week, some users started noticing that Siri is refusing to answer basic music queries — such as checking which songs are trending in the charts — for those not subscribed to Apple Music. Setting up a streaming box is usually a painful process, but Apple has made it super simple to get started with your new Apple TV: Just put your iPhone running iOS 9.1 with Bluetooth turned on near the TV, and that’s it. “When you install streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix from the App Store, you type in your login credentials by swiping left and right with the remote to select letters of the alphabet one at a time—you have no option to do this by speaking into the microphone or using a keyboard on a smartphone,” Brian X. It has virtually every streaming app save Amazon AMZN 1.53% Prime video, Siri works reasonably well and can answer a wider range of questions across services than the Fire TV 2 or Roku, and playback is super fast. Swiping across a film’s timeline to pinpoint a particular moment, for example, is surprisingly accurate and easy.” “The Apple TV gets the Internet TV remote right by reaching for the same touch-screen feeling that makes the iPhone intuitive to a 2-year-old,” Fowler writes. “The new remote has a glass touchpad on one end that you swipe and tap around with your thumb as if it’s an iPhone.

Siri works to search not only in Apple’s own iTunes service, but in Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime, and displays results across multiple networks — er, apps. Developers are in various stages of work on their tvOS apps—some are still in progress, others are awaiting Apple’s approval, and early partners like HBO and Netflix are ready to go. But if you’ve already preordered an Apple TV or plan to buy one when they hit store shelves on Friday, be prepared for a dearth of quality apps—at least right now. “Because Apple TV is a platform that’s new to developers, the current selection of apps is limited and some first efforts seem…not as well-conceived as they might have been,” Paczkowski writes. “But’s that going to change—and quickly.

If you can’t recall the name of the classic movie When Harry Met Sally, but can remember its stars, you can say “show me movies with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.” Siri can also do follow-up questions. As developers get their hands on this thing and spend some real time coming to understand it, I suspect we’re going to see some great stuff coming down the pipeline.” The possibilities for gaming alone are endless, but Brian X. Chen of the Times found that an app for reading comics on the TV proves that the best tvOS apps don’t have to be games. “I don’t know when, if ever, Apple will reinvent TV,” Mossberg says. “But this isn’t the moment.

It also correctly dug up TV shows based on questions like “Show me the finale of Breaking Bad.” David Pogue, Yahoo: Loads of potential—and lots of bugs. Turns out custom-building a TV from a broad palette of apps that includes everything from pay TV channels and games to travel accommodation services and Periscope is a great way to get exactly the TV experience you want—or close to it, anyway. It’s that plethora of innovations and apps that leads me to conclude that the upgraded $149 box is now the best TV streaming device you can get for your money.

The new $150 Apple TV streaming box opens the largest screen in your house to an app store with the best that movie makers, game developers, retailers and even personal trainers can dream up.

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