With the Apple TV App Store now entering its third week, we decided it was time to dedicate an installment of our Apps of the Week feature to looking at some of the interesting apps we’ve found so far for Apple’s new set-top box. While some of these are unique to the Apple TV and others are merely adaptations of long-running iOS versions, each brings something interesting to the experience.
Asphalt 8: Airborne (free) — Our all-time favorite iOS racing game comes to the big screen, providing a great demonstration of what the new Apple TV can do as a pure gaming box. Players familiar with the iOS version will already be familiar with the experience, and better yet, all of your saved progress transfers across from the iOS version via iCloud. The Siri Remote’s accelerometer features can be used to speed around the track by using it as a game controller in landscape mode, or you can pair up an MFi game controller for a more traditional gaming experience.
Battle Supremacy: Evolution ($5) — Atypical Games expands its classic Battle Supremacy with an entirely new futuristic installment released simultaneously as a universal app for the Apple TV and iOS devices. Instead of a WWII tank, Battle Supremacy: Evolution puts you at the helm of a sci-fi transforming vehicle that can quick morph between a tank, a drone, or an airplane as you battle through futuristic landscapes and cities. The visuals are stunning on the Apple TV, and you can play with the Siri Remote or an MFi game controller. Best of all, as a universal app, you only need to buy it once to run it on your Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and of course game progress syncs across devices via iCloud.
Cueist ($2) — This virtual pool simulator is actually debuting on the Apple TV first, and will apparently come to iOS devices in a future update. The game puts you around a virtual pool/snooker table where you can choose from 8 Ball, 9 Ball, UK 8 Ball, and Snooker games, and zoom in and out and rotate the camera around the entire table by using the Siri Remote accelerometer or an MFi Game Controller, and you can even make Wii-style natural movements with the Siri Remote to make your shots. The graphics are top notch, with the game boasting that it took full advantage of the Apple TV’s raw processing power to provide “silky smooth” 1080p 60fps graphics. The game supports human-vs-human, human-vs-CPU, and even CPU-vs-CPU play modes, the latter of which allows you to let the game unfold by itself while you focus on moving the camera around and enjoying the visual presentation.
Earthlapse TV ($3) — By its very nature, the new Apple TV looks like it’s going to be a hotbed of virtual screensaver apps — we’ve already seen dozens of fireplaces — but Earthlapse TV provides something a bit different in the form of actual images from space. Eighteen time-lapse views from the International Space Station are included, accompanied by eight relaxing soundtracks (or you can play your own music), along with an on-screen clock, four color filters, and five playback speeds. The video is all full 1080p HD but is actually professionally mastered at 4K. Per the Apple TV’s new app download size limits, you only get five views in the App Store download, but additional views come down as you use the app, so it can ultimately take up to 1.2 GB of space.
FileBrowserTV ($3) — While many users will have everything they need in iCloud Photo Library and iTunes, anybody with a large library of content laying around on their home Mac or PC will appreciate this app that lets you connect to your home network and browse your photo and video collection directly from your computer or NAS device. The app features automatic discovery of shared computers on your network, and can view all image formats, including camera RAW, and stream any video format supported by the Apple TV. It also bundles in ten slideshow animations, along with folder shortcuts, folder-specific parental locks, and bookmarking of the last-watched positions in your videos.
tvStorage ($1) — While Apple seems to have been deliberately opaque about allowing you to see how much storage is used on your Apple TV, as usual, third-party apps have come to the rescue. This little app really only does one thing, so you might want to question whether it’s worth the buck, but if you’re concerned about knowing how much storage is being used on your Apple TV, it may be worth the investment. Since Apple’s “Manage Storage” screen only shows you base app sizes and not the size of any additional content that has been downloaded, you might actually be surprised to find out how much space is actually being used on your Apple TV. Of course, Apple promises to manage your storage for you dynamically, but there will always be those of us who would prefer to keep a closer eye on what’s going on under the hood.