Let’s get this out of the way right now — this post is not about a web browser app for your Apple TV. Apple doesn’t have one of those yet, as the company still doesn’t allow open access to third-party apps on the little black box. But AirWeb, a US$ 0.99 app (holiday sale price) uses AirPlay to put a full-screen browser on your Apple TV. The controls are on your iPad or iPhone, while the browser shows up nice and sharp on your TV.
The app supports the iPad Mini, the iPad 2 or later, the iPad air, the iPhone 4s and higher, and the fifth-generation iPod touch. As for the Apple TV, you’ll need a second or third generation device.
Setup is easy. Turn on AirPlay on both your Apple TV and your iOS device. You’ll see a rudimentary browser on your iPad or iPhone — type in a URL and off you go. You can scroll up and down with two fingers, click with a single tap and pinch and zoom as much as you’d like.
I tried the app on my second-generation Apple TV and the results were fine. After I took a minute to get used to the gestures, it was a pleasure to surf from my couch and see everything on my big flat screen TV. AirWeb would be great for demonstrations or sharing web content with others.
The basic browser doesn’t have any way to retain favorite web sites, so you’ll do some typing. There is a button to toggle the big screen on and off and return the image to your iOS device.
Of course you can use AirPlay and see your Safari browser on your TV screen as well, but on my iPad Safari didn’t fill the screen, leaving black bars on both sides of the content. AirWeb, on the other hand, fits the screen perfectly. This is the kind of thing Apple should build into iOS, but until they do, AirWeb works quite well.
The app requires iOS 7 and is optimized for the iPhone 5.