Some things exist solely because they can. The new 2048 game (US$0.99) for your iOS Today view isn't a particularly impressive implementation of the game or a great step forward in technology, but darned if we weren't excited to see someone do something novel and fun with widgets.
Apple introduced application extensions in iOS 8. These are bundles of code you can add to run in the Today center, as activities in other apps, or as photo editing tools. Developer Minghui Li decided to implement 2048 as a widget.
Is this a particularly good implementation? Well, no. Playing directly in the app is far more fun -- and yes, you must install the standalone app to get access to the widget, and then use the Extensions editor in the Today view to install it. Having to use the arrow buttons you see in the widget screenshot are a pain. In the app, you can use standard drag gestures for much better interaction.
But hell, if we wanted a good 2048 game, there are lots of other choices on the market. "2048 in Widget!" (exclamation point in original title) really is one of those things you install on your iPhone so you can show it off to other Apple fans and earn the disdain of Android users.
We're still having fun with it, but it's probably leaving our TUAW phone in a week or two.