The one feature that truly stands out in iOS 5 is AirPlay Mirroring on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. The feature allows you to wirelessly stream everything on your screen to your HDTV, and all you need is an Apple TV as the middleman. The feature is completely unique to iOS, allowing for your iOS device to be the only entertainment device you need. You get all of the great apps in the App Store available on your TV, and the feature acts as a movie player, game console, education tool, presentation aid, photo sharer, web browser, and more.
Every single app can be transferred to your TV, but if developers add a few things to their apps then you can really see AirPlay Mirroring shine. We’ve created a list of the very best apps that take full advantage of AirPlay Mirroring by offering special full screen 720P HD modes when in Mirroring mode. All the other apps have letterbox, but these apps look spectacular on an HDTV, and offer a completely different experience than simply using them on your iPhone or iPad. Without further ado, we present the best AirPlay Mirroring apps on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.
Real Racing 2 ($4.99, iPhone / $6.99, iPad) If you’re truly interested in AirPlay Mirroring, there’s no app that does it better than Real Racing 2. When you launch the app with AirPlay Mirroring activated all of the cars and racetracks go to the TV, and you simply get a grey screen on your iPhone or iPad with the options, data, and controls. You tap to accelerate and brake, and tilt to steer your car with all of the action up on your TV wirelessly. Real Racing 2 features 16 car races, multiple racing campaigns, and even online multiplayer for quite possibly the most advanced game overall, that just happens to include AirPlay Mirroring. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also Party Play mode allowing multiple iPhone 4S and iPad 2 owners to play together split screen on the TV.
Modern Combat 3 ($6.99, Universal): This is the most impressive title in the App Store that is the most console like of any iOS game. The ability to play the game in 720P HD on your TV makes it even more like a console game. Modern Combat 3 features a deluxe 13 mission campaign that will take many hours to get through, as you play the realistic first person shooter experience. When in Mirroring mode, the game goes to the TV, and your iOS device turns into the controller with just an interface for movement, aiming, and shooting. There’s also online multiplayer on top of the deluxe campaign, and this game is as close as possible to playing a PS3 or XBox 360 game.
Solar Walk ($2.99, Universal): Now you can explore the universe on your HDTV, and the app also supports true stereoscopic 3D on brand new 3D TVs. You can explore our solar system, and travel between all of the eight planets and Pluto along with viewing moons, satellites, and stars. All of the planets are on your TV, and you simply pinch, swipe, and pan on your iOS device to move about the solar system. You can adjust time to see rotations and revolutions, and find out details about any space object in particular.
Star Walk ($2.99, iPhone / $4.99, iPad): From the makers of Solar Walk is another space app, but this one is all about the stars and constellations. Star Walk is more astrology compared to the astronomy of Solar Walk. You can view the sky above you, and find out what constellations are viewable for the time of year and your location. You can see all of it on your HDTV, while easily moving about on your iOS device.
Max Adventure ($0.99, Universal): A deluxe dual stick shooter with a story driven campaign with multiple levels across three environments. You play as Max, and it’s up to him to save his parents, and parents all over the world from the alien invasion. The game is the best dual stick shooter in the App Store that is packed with fun and action throughout. The game automatically detects the Apple TV, and then you simply touch the left or right side of your iOS device screen to move each respective joystick. All of the action is transported to your TV at 720P, and the game is effortless to control without ever looking at your iOS device.
Touchgrind BMX ($4.99, Universal): Illusion Labs has done it again to provide mad tricks to your finger tips, but this time with a bike rather than skateboard. You perform all the tricks on your iOS device, while looking at your TV, and now your fingers never get in the way of the action, because it’s all up on the TV. There are six different courses to unlock, and various achievements to earn on each one.
Perfect Browser ($0.99, iPhone / $3.99, iPad): The only internet browser app that has a special full screen mode for AirPlay Mirroring. You could always use Safari, but it would be in letterbox, while Perfect Browser is made to be viewed on the entirety of your TV. The browser itself has a number of unique features compared to Safari, and it looks great to have the internet connected to your Apple TV.
Chopper 2 ($2.99, Universal): Pilot your helicopter by tilting your iOS device, and see all of the action on the TV. The game features 36 missions across 12 locations as you rescue people, shoot down enemies, and traverse tricky environments. The tilt controls are very smooth allowing for seamless adjustment of height as you deal with tons of obstacles and multiple objectives at once.
NFS Shift 2 Unleashed ($4.99, iPad): EA has taken a page from Firemint, and has added AirPlay Mirroring to Need for Speed Shift 2. The game doesn’t have any special modes, but allows you to see your racing game in full screen on your TV. The game itself mixes elements from realistic and arcade racing with upgrading cars an essential task to win.
Air Video ($2.99, Universal): The app works with regular AirPlay for video, but you can mirror the entire app in full screen, 16:9 720P for all of your videos. Air Video supports every video type, and not limited to the special ones supported by Apple’s stock video app. All you need is the computer client, and you can watch all video files from your computer on your HDTV in full screen HD if the files support it.
MetalStorm: Wingman (Free, Universal): An aerial combat game with 3D dogfighting that is now available in HD on your HDTV with Airplay Mirroring. When connected to the Apple TV, your iOS device screen turns into a cockpit, and all of the action is up on your TV. You tilt to fly, and swipe various directions to perform evasive maneuvers, and tap the action buttons to fire your weapons.
Pangea Games: Enigmo 2, Bugdom 2, Nanosaur 2, Cro-Mag Rally, Otto Matic, Quarters, and now Monkey Bongo. Pangea makes some App Store classics, and has recently updated six of their games for AirPlay Mirroring, and just released a brand new game in Monkey Bongo. All seven of these games support full 720P gaming, and they look beautiful with the 3D design. All apps show the same gameplay screen on both the iOS device and TV.
Keynote ($9.99, Universal): Apple’s own presentation creation tool, part of the iWork suite, works with AirPlay Mirroring. That means you can set-up your presentation to easily connect to your HD monitor through the Apple TV. If you have an Apple TV and an HDTV, you can show off presentations in full screen mode with the easiest set-up imaginable.
Shnap! (Free, iPhone): A social photo sharing app that lets you send your own pictures or others up to your TV. You simply swipe up on the picture to see it in HD on your TV, and it’s a great way to show off and look at pictures. The app works in the background on the TV witha beige background,a dn only shows photos when you want it to.
Uzu ($1.99, iPad): The app doesn’t officially support AirPlay Mirroring, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. The particle effects app works in full screen mode from the iPad 2 allowing for all the amazing visual effects to appear on your TV at full size without letterbox. The app reacts differently to the number of fingers you place on screen from one to eleven.
Pinball HD ($0.99, iPad): The most authentic pinball game in the App Store also works with AirPlay Mirroring. The pinball tables show up on the TV, and you’re given the plunger as well as the ability to tap the left or right side of the screen to activate the flippers.
There are other apps that work with AirPlay Mirroring, but they’re either poor apps overall, or it’s not a smooth translation. The apps listed above shine on your HDTV, and really show off the power of the A5 chip in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. AirPlay Mirroring is simply an amazing feature that is only possible on iOS, and the apps above take full advantage of it.