Just grabbed an update to the Cartoon Network iOS app. They've reworked the entire thing, starting with menus that are more akin to Apple's CoverFlow than what they had previously... which was "a bunch of 1998 horizontal ad banners." So that's nice.
The app is now more than just streaming video. There's a game section that has a handful of tappity tappity mini-games that (to my eyes anyway) look to be built specifically for this app. The games are nothing special. In fact, they're pretty dumb. One of them is an obvious steal of Fruit Ninja, which, which not illegal, is awfully sad. What's the other game where you have a dude running around planets and you have to jump from gravity to gravity? Well there's a Ben 10 version here. So whatever.
What's good about the games is that they're build to give you something to do while you watch the shows. Which is rather interesting. For some time we've known that people do other things (internet) while watching TV. Now you can do other things on your iPad while you're watching TV on your iPad. It's like we're falling into infinity here.
Now this is built for kids, so it probably makes extra double sense that a kid can tap through a Fruit Ninja clone while "Adventure Time" is playing upstairs. See above screenshot for the iPad layout. There's a cute trick in the app... tilt the iPad to the left and the video goes full screen. Tilt to the right horizontal and the game goes full. You have to keep the device on the vertical center to get both panes at once.
But that's not all. Playing the games earns you energy. Watching episodes earns you DNA (noun keywords like "RABBITS" and "BOWLING" and "ROCKS.") Buy combining DNA icons and using energy, you can unlock virtual trading cards and by now you've probably guessed how I've spent the evening.
However, it seems the app still can't handle beaming the video stream over AirPlay to the Apple TV. Just as it has over the last major releases, your video will stream beautifully for about seven minutes and then go blank. By this point, I don't know if there is a genuine problem with how Cartoon Network is using AirPlay, or if this is just some kind of dick move on Cartoon Network's part to keep me from enjoying fullscreen HD animation without watching commercial cable.