RadarScope for Apple TV

When Apple sent out $1 developer units for the Apple TV 4, we were right in the middle of our big RadarScope 3 release. When we got our test unit, we still took a couple of days to prototype what a TV app could look like. We got a demo working pretty quickly and saw that there was potential to do something really cool, but we figured that re-writing the entire app in Swift and adding a dual pane display was ambitious enough without adding a whole new platform to the mix. We put our TV code off to the side with the intention of revisiting it at some point in the future.

Late this spring, that point arrived. I started working on what was going to be a quick port of the iOS app to the TV. Our goal was to get a basic version of our iOS code running on tvOS. The more we worked on it, the more we realized that we could do way better than just take the iOS app and stretch it out to fill the TV.

We decided to throw out our entire UI and rethink it as a TV-first app instead of an iOS port.

Every other version of RadarScope1 has had the map as the main screen of the app. The more we used the TV app, starting at the map didn’t feel right.

We designed a landing page that showed you a preview of the map along with with badged buttons showing you any interesting data (like number of warnings) across the country. If you have a Pro subscription, we also show a grid of tiles showing the radar for your favorite radars, locations, and every active warning. These tiles are presented similarity to how a video app would show your TV shows or movies, so the UI should feel familiar to anyone that has used an Apple TV before.

One click on one of those tiles (or on the preview at the top) presents a full screen map that feels right at home for any RadarScope user. It has almost every feature from the iOS version. Using the remote, you can pan and zoom around the map. If you have Pro, you can enable Dual or Quad pane display to view multiple products at once. If you have Pro Tier 2, you can view Archive Data or custom products like hail contours and size or azimuthal shear.

Using RadarScope on the TV has become my favorite way to check in on big storm events when I am at home in the evening. When storm season gets back to Oklahoma, the local news stations are really going to have to earn their spot on my TV during outbreaks.

The best part is that the TV app is included for free with the iOS app. So if you already own the iOS app, you now own the TV app for no additional charge. Any Pro subscription you have on iOS is also shared. So if you are not a Pro subscriber yet, now would be a great time to fix that2.

Get it now by downloading on your iOS device or by searching for RadarScope on the tvOS App Store.

  1. Except for Apple Watch. 
  2. I had to plug it at least once.