How to use your Apple TV to have a merry, Siri Christmas

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

America’s 10 most popular apps of 2015.

SAN FRANCISCO—Apple’s reshuffling of its senior management included a new head of its App Store, the heart of its app ecosystem and the source of griping from some developers.According to the report the Facebook app has more than 126 average unique users each month, which was considerably higher than all of the other apps in the list.

We hear you, there it seems that this writer, in particular, has folders of apps on his phone that he swears he’ll use at some point, but likely won’t get to anytime soon. But Google still accounts for a huge portion of mobile traffic—it made half the apps on the list of America’s 10 most-used apps of the year, according to Nielsen. One thing we both likely have in common, however, is the Facebook app—according to new figures from Nielsen, it was the year’s top app with around 126,702,000 average monthly users. The complaints focus on the App Store for Mac’s review process, which some say is too slow and cumbersome. “While a little Draconian, it’s helpful to keep a standard of quality across the apps. It’s a little frustrating sometimes, but overall it ends up with a much more consistent user experience,” said Jeff McConathy, vice president of consumer engineering for real estate service Trulia, which has had an Apple mobile app since 2008 (It doesn’t have an app for Macs, instead directing users to its website.) Apple has every reason to keep its developers happy.

Even more than fruitcake and tinsel, our gadgets have taken center stage during the holidays and given the Christmas season a much-need upgrade, as we stuff our iPhones and iPad with enough cheer to last the whole night (and season) through. Other apps taking up Nielsen’s top-ten list of most-used apps for the year include Google Search, Google Play, and Google Maps, at fourth, fifth, and sixth place, respectively. The rankings for the company’s somewhat maligned streaming music app and its formerly maligned maps service suggest there’s at least some inertia on the part of Apple customers when it comes to the apps that come pre-installed on all new iPhones, which Apple sold 48 million of just last quarter.

This year we have a brand-new device to make all new traditions with–and we don’t even have to lift a finger (though you will need to slide and tap it). There are no games, no shopping apps, and no real productivity apps—and none of the burgeoning social media apps, like Snapchat or Tumblr, have managed to upend the incumbents. It would’t be Christmas without hearing “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” a few dozen times, but whether you’re into songs of woe or wonder, Apple TV will happily oblige. Otherwise, apps like Instagram (23 percent), YouTube (26 percent), and Facebook Messenger (242 percent) had a good amount of growth in 2014 compared to their 2013 figures.

The ratings and measurement company based its data on surveys of about 30,000 people which it says is “weighted to be demographically representative of mobile subscribers in the US.” It also found from the surveys that Android commands nearly 53% of the operating system market share in the US, with Apple’s iOS coming in second at roughly 43%. You might have to be specific with your request though; asking Siri to play “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” for example, brought up the classic Gene Autry version, but requesting “Silent Night” went straight to a selection of Christmas-themed horror movies rather than the Bing Crosby or Miley Cyrus recording.

Apple’s iOS came in with a market share of 42.7 percent, and Microsoft and Blackberry were left to fight over scraps at 2.8 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. As always, you can access any of the holiday classics in your iTunes or iCloud Music libraries, but if you tell Siri that you want to listen to Christmas music, it will start playing from “The Sounds of Christmas” radio station. Instead of the classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, asking to watch a Christmas movie returned lesser-known titles like Headed South for Christmas, Christmas with the Karountzoses and Up on the Wooftop. But even with the tedious remote typing (pro tip: be sure your Apple TV is updated so you can use the Remote app), you’ll be dashing through the snow in no time. Meanwhile, in the ABC app you can watch I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown, as well as holiday-themed episodes and clips of The Chew and Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Do a search for Christmas and you’ll get a bunch of yuletide-related apps, from wintery landscapes for your screensaver to appropriately themed countdowns and games. Not only does it have 14 fireplaces to choose from and a super-cool slo-mo mode, it was actually built with Metal, the same API used to power the tremendous graphics in Shadowmatic. Also check out the Tastemade app (free) for all things foodie, including holiday how-tos and instructional videos on how to make eggnog fudge and roasted butternut squash soup.

While it boasts some 2,000 apps in its catalogue, Apple TV’s tvOS platform is still in its infancy and developers will no doubt be working harder than Santa’s elves to have a bounty of apps and games for next Christmas.

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