Apple TV has quietly been making waves since its launch back in 2006, but it’s fair to say it hadn’t quite rocked our worlds until September of 2015. When Apple took to the stage to announce a range of new products including the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, a new iPad Pro and a brand new iPad mini, one of the biggest announcements was arguably the shiny new fourth-generation Apple TV, or as Apple refers to it, “the future of television.”
Along with the introduction of Siri to our television sets and a revamped UI which Apple fans will recognize as an effort to fall in line with iOS 9, one of the most noteworthy new additions was without a doubt the Apple TV App Store.
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Being so new on the market, there aren’t as many apps available as for iPads and iPhones, but as The Guardian mentions in its Apple TV review, the current selection is “…just the tip of the iceberg”, and once developers work a bit more on this new technology, Apple TV is certainly going to provide more variety.
As well as being able to download apps directly to their Apple TV, users still have the option to control the TV using their other devices, using Apple AirPlay and a variety of different cross-platform apps.
In an interview to Buzzfeed, Apple’s Eddy Cue confirmed that at least 2,000 apps are already available in the Apple TV Apps Store, and they’re growing by the day. According to appfigures.com, 39% of them are paid apps, while the Entertainment category is by far the most popular, for now at least. Here’s a rundown of five interesting, handy apps you can download and use seamlessly between your iPhone and your Apple TV, meaning you’ll never have to get up from the couch again if you don’t want to.
The essential one: Remote
When Apple first released the new generation Apple TV, loyal users were understandably a little frustrated as Remote, Apple’s own app which allows you to control your TV using your iPhone, iPad or even Apple Watch, didn’t work with the new OS. Not a great start, but a few bug fixes and software updates later and Remote is back in the game, once again making users’ lives just that little bit easier.
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Remote allows you to access and control iTunes, letting you listen to music through both your TV and your AirPlay speakers from anywhere in your home.Remote also includes very handy keyboard functionality, allowing you to quickly and simply use your iPhone or iPad to search and enter passwords – something which can be fiddly when using the Apple TV remote control.
There are a couple of steps to getting Remote running smoothly alongside your Apple TV, but this step by step guide makes it easy to get both devices up and running in sync with each other.
The fun one: PokerStars TV
40 million Americans play poker regularly, and 68% of them watch others’ games. Over 50% of them say poker on TV is exciting, as they can watch the action live.
Developers at PokerStars have kept busy since the launch of the latest version of Apple TV, creating PokerStars TV. This app allows you to stream live tournaments from all around the world as well as tutorials, direct to Apple TV. The app seamlessly integrates PokerStars.tv, the brand’s live streaming and on-demand video website.
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Poker fans can choose to watch entire tournaments, including the PokerStars Big Game and European Poker Tour, videos analyzing individual hands and can keep on top of the latest news and brush up on their skills, with advice and strategy from the PokerStars blog. There is also a lot of advice for newbies available.
The obvious one: YouTube
We’ve all been there – you’ve come across a video on YouTube which has you quite literally rolling on the floor with laughter, but then you go to share it with your friends and it doesn’t quite have the same impact when you’re huddled round a tiny screen.
Enter YouTube and Apple’s AirPlay functionality. AirPlay is a prime example of Apple’s seamless cooperation between its various devices, enabling users to beam videos, photos, music and more directly from an iPhone or iPad to Apple TV with the tap of a button. This nifty feature means you can share a never ending stream of hilarious cat videos with your friends and family on the big screen.
The fitness one: Streaks Workout
It happens to the best of us: we sign up for a gym membership, having every intention of dragging ourselves there to work out, but simply can’t bring ourselves to leave the comfort of our living room more than a couple of times. That’s where Streaks Workout comes in.
Described by Apple as “the personal trainer you actually want to use,” Streaks allows you to create custom workouts of varying lengths and difficulties. The app coaches you through each exercise using animated figures and a countdown timer at the bottom of the screen shows you how much time or repetitions you have left.
If you want to take Streaks to the next level you can also use it in tandem with other iOS devices and even your Apple Watch, to help you form and track healthy habits such as taking regular walks.
The party one: Sing! Karaoke
Apple TV really comes into its own at a party and who doesn’t love belting out their favorite hits out of tune with a bunch of their friends?
Sing! Karaoke by Smule lets you do just that with an impressive catalogue of songs including popular artists from 2015 AMA Artist of the Year One Direction to Nicki Minaj.
Singers can perform solos and duets and use a variety of vocal effects to alter even the most cringe-worthy singing and most importantly, have fun. Once you’re done you are also provided with an option to share your efforts on Smule’s global platform, in case you aspire to be the next American Idol.
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Rumors about what’s next for Apple TV are rife, but one thing’s for sure – once the developers start to churn out even more new and exciting apps Apple TV is going to be one seriously impressive piece of tech that we’ll all be wanting to have in our living rooms. This selection is a good start to what looks like it’s going to be a great new way to use your television.