Asphalt 8 and the rushed Apple TV

I got an Apple TV for Christmas. I love it. It’s by far the best streaming device I have ever used, and I’ve had a Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick and this.

While it’s early days, it is the most powerful, feels responsive and has the best remote I’ve ever used. Siri integration is key to the success of this product, and it does need improvement. It seems to work only with Netflix and iTunes stores in the UK (as we can’t have the Hulu and HBO Now integration of our American cousins). Searching for a film at the moment is very limited.

For the past two weeks of use, my Apple TV has always told me that my remote was ‘charging’. Every time I turned on the TV and the box (using the simplicity of one button press on the remote, go Apple), it would say it was charging. It evidently wasn’t.

So this afternoon I researched this bug and discovered others had it. The solution was to briefly plug in the remote and unplug it. The remote liked that, and started to respond normally, telling me it was fully charged. Within ten minutes of continuing use it was also dead.

That aside, BBC iPlayer was launched on the Apple TV just before Apple stopped accepting app submissions over the Christmas and New Year period. The iPlayer app is fine, but needs work. Search is tedious, slow, and every series on there forms it’s own category under search, so if you’re looking for films or one off specials, you get a screen of rows with only one item in, which means a lot of vertical scrolling. They haven’t sorted out Siri integration yet, and you can’t sign in to your BBC ID to see your favourite shows or mark other shows to watch later. It’ll take the BBC a few months to fix all this, but once it’s done I’m sure it’ll be better.

The other broadcasters haven’t yet announced plans to develop for the Apple TV in the UK, but it’s highly likely they will. Considering you can build an app for it using similar code to an iPhone/iPad app, it’s most likely just a matter of time.

Looking for news and the best apps to download for the new Apple TV the other day, I stumbled across this article. Which actually covers a lot of my own thoughts about Apple’s efforts this year. I would agree that the Apple TV is half-baked, and developers should have got a longer, earlier preview so the device could have launched with a fairly full App Store. Siri on the device is hit and miss.

Talking of Siri, saying the phrase ‘Let’s play Asphalt Eight’ which obediently launches the game on the glossy promo Apple released for the product, doesn’t actually work on the released Apple TV.

Instead, it says ‘Hmmm, I can’t find that in your library’.

Only saying ‘Open Asphalt Eight’ or ‘Asphalt Eight’ will open it. Which means that this product is so rushed that even the video Apple released for it demonstrates it incorrectly.

‘Hmmm,’ indeed.

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