Xbox Live iOS app turns Apple iPad into remote control

Microsoft updated its Xbox Live iOS app today, adding a number of sweet new features for iPad owners.

Essentially, the new update turns Apple’s wildly popular iPad tablet into a remote control – adding capabilities first seen in the iPhone version of the software package.

The current version of the app (version 1.6) includes a Companion remote control feature for the iPad, allowing users to launch games, browse  Xbox Live video content, play DVDs and video – all while easily navigating the console user interface.

Previous versions of the app, including the original version that launched in December of 2011, feature relatively limited functionality such Xbox Live content browsing, friend list access, and message editing.

Version 1.5 rolled out in June of this year, adding Xbox companion remote-control functionality for the iPhone and high-resolution image support to the iPad. As noted above, version 1.6 brings the same remote-control functionality to iPad users.

I can’t help but think that Microsoft offering an app which allows an Apple product to control one of its devices is rather interesting indeed. In my mind, this is certainly a nod of acknowledgement in terms of how popular the iPhone and the iPad are these days – even if Microsoft wants desperately to compete with Apple in the tablet (Surface) and smartphone (Windows Phone 7/8) markets. Yet even with the latest version of the app bringing remote-control functionality to the iPad, version 1.6 is still a far cry from SmartGlass.

SmartGlass is expected to launch later this year and should bring the ability to share game screens or videos between Xbox and additional devices. The above-mentioned Xbox Live app update is a 27 MB download currently available at no cost on Apple’s app store.