For years, Apple’s worst kept secret has been the Trailer section of their website. It’s not publicized very often, but occasionally a web article will link to it, or someone will tell you about the latest exclusive feature, but it’s one of those things you kind of have to know about before you go there.
A few months back, Apple released a series of new apps designed to showcase the cool features in iOS 5, and one of them was iTunes Movie Trailers — but we’ll call it Trailers to keep things simple. At first blush, it seems like this would be a pretty shallow app with only one focus: showing you trailers. But as it turns out, there’s a lot more to the app than just some pretty videos, and I’ll tell you about them after the break.
Yes, Trailers will show you movie trailers. I mean, that makes a lot of sense, so if you’re going to name your app with such a literal name, you’d want it to do what it says, and Trailers excels for sure.
Apple has the benefit of getting access to all of the best trailers, and as such, all of the ones featured on their website are available on the app. The featured trailer will show up on the top of the home screen first, but you’re also able to sort the flicks by genre if you so choose.
Once you pick out your movie of choice, you’re able to watch one of the trailers right there, just by touching on the title. And if that was it, I really wouldn’t be very impressed. Fortunately, it’s not.
The Continuing Saga
If you look down on the bottom of the screen, you’ll notice one of those standard bits of interface found in many iOS apps, and this is where stuff starts to change up.
First off, there’s the Calendar section, which tells you what’s coming out when. Sounds simple, right? Well that’s the gist of it sure, but think about the last time you wanted to know when that one movie was hitting the theaters and had to randomly Google names until you figured it out? Happens to me all the time. Now it’s easy, just by flipping through the calendar and seeing if something prompts your memory.
The Top 25 section is next on the list, and these are broken down into a few different sections. You’ve got the most popular trailers, the biggest ones on the weekend box office, top reviews from Rotton Tomatoes and iTunes top movies. Again, this seems trivial at first, but it comes in handy at parties or when you’re trying to prove to your boss that yes, the latest Twilight movie really did hit the top of the box office charts last weekend. As for why that happened, well your guess is as good as mine.
The Buying Experience
The next icon on the bottom is called In Theaters, and as the title would seem to imply, it’s a list of the movies that are currently in the theaters. Pick a day from the calendar bar at the top of the screen to see what’s playing this week, or select Theaters from the top of the screen and find a theater near you. This pulls up a Google map that shows you all of the theaters in your area, and from there you can choose whatever movie you want to see.
Once you’ve found a theater, you can see what’s playing and that’s neat. But, you can also touch one of the little blue buttons on each listing and select whatever showtime you want to attend. At the bottom of the screen you’ll get a little popup that asks if you want to buy tickets, and if you choose that option you’ll be whisked away to buy tickets on the company’s website.
Finally, there’s also a Favorites section of the app. In my world, there’s a few theaters that I really like to visit, and others that I stay away from like the black plague is delivered with the popcorn. If I touch the little star icon in the corner of the In Theaters section, then that theater becomes one of my favorites. Same with the movies part, making it easy for you to select your favorite movies before they come out, and then you can see what the local showtimes are at your favorite theater.
There’s not really much wrong with this app, because it does everything it says in the title and then some. The interface is nice, everything is laid out on a black background making it convenient to read in low-light situations and it’s convenient to use.
That said, I just can’t give it a full 10 score, but I don’t really know why. There’s some little nagging doubt in my head that says, “This app isn’t perfect. I mean, it’s close, but it’s not that cool.” Again, no real logical reason here, just something in the back of my head.
But don’t let that stop you. The app is free so you really don’t have much to lose, and the added functionality may make your life a little bit easier. Plus, it’s always cool to see the new trailers before they hit the screen, right?