Xbox Companion for iPhone pictures and hands-on

Microsoft has updated the Xbox Companion app for iPhone, allowing Apple phone users to control some elements of their console via the app.

Windows Phone users have been experiencing the joys of the Xbox Companion for some time, but now it’s the chance of iPhone users to get some of the action too.

The app lets iPhone users with an Xbox to connect, control and discover content on the console once they have connected the two.

Fire up the app, login with your Xbox user ID and press the connect button. As long as the two devices are on the same network you get to control the console.

Although the app doesn’t go as far as letting you replace your Xbox 360 controller – why would you anyway – you can use it to zip around the menu system as well as control the play, pause, fast forward and rewind media controls. That’s handy if you aren’t looking to play games, but watch some movies instead. 

Beyond replicating the d-pad and the coloured buttons, the app will also allow you to launch previous games, discover new content - be it games, music, or video - and see what games you’ve recently played with your Xbox ID whether they are on a Windows Phone device, the Xbox, or Windows 8. You will also be able to check your gamer profile and see the levels you have achieved so far.

In use and it is all very easy, with the app working as expected. There are some frustrations. We would have liked in-game control, not to play Call of Duty but the more silly games like Bejewelled, for example. We would also have liked the app to load the iPhone keyboard when we needed to type anything in rather than insist on us using the forwards/backwards controls instead.

We are sure both will be implemented when the app is updated to include Microsoft’s new Xbox SmartGlass features announced at the gaming conference E3 this month.

Oh, and on the more mundane side, Microsoft also says that it has improved authentication to make the app more stable.