Apple commenced the development of audio and video streaming with the release of Airtunes in 2004. Then, six years later in fall of 2010, late Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that Airtunes has expanded and evolved into AirPlay. This new and improved streaming service now enables users with the ability to stream audio, video, and photo content through a Bluetooth or Apple streaming device. AirPlay also transforms your iPhone into a remote by controlling your entire sound system with a few touches.
What you need: The first necessary component of Apple Airplay is a iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, (iDevice) that is running iOS 4.2 or higher. Next, one can choose from a variety of devices, an Airport Express base station, or Apple TV. Also, with the expansion of AirPlay, Apple has allowed third-party developers to design Bluetooth supported sound systems and base stations that are compatible with AirPlay.
How it works: A triangle going into a rectangle will appear on any app that utilizes standard video controls. Touch this button and the audio or video will play from any television or speakers that are linked with your device.
Stream video content: One of the major affordances of the AirPlay is its ability to stream video content from an iPhone or iPad to an Apple TV synced television. AirPlay allows for the user to stream video content that can be filmed or downloaded onto the device and wirelessly streams it via the Apple TV.
Development of Applications: Other than streaming audio through your device, more and more video streaming apps are popping up in support of the AirPlay. Some current free audio and video streaming apps compatible with AirPlay are: TED, IMDb, Vevo HD, Discovery Channel HD, and NPR. Top paid apps that run on the Apple AirPlay include; iMovie, EyeTV, Air Video, and Justin.tv.
AirPlay Mirroring: One feature that was added to the AirPlay following the release of iOS5 is AirPlay Mirroring. This enables the user to stream whatever is on their iPhone or iPad 2 through Apple TV to be displayed on the users TV.
Future of AirPlay: The development of the Apple Airplay leaves the user very optimistic about the possible wireless affordances this may allow them, and the future is bright. Some developers are hopeful that in the future users will be able to stream content from their iPhone to a friends Apple TV in a different household. Also, many also hope that all Apple devices will be able to sync wirelessly through AirPlay.
Some things to look out for the future involving the continued development of AirPlay is the possible usage as the iPad as a controller for apps streaming to the television. The affordances of the touch screen on the iPad 2 really lead to endless possibilities of streaming technology made possible by AirPlay.
Overall, the AirPlay is a very innovative development in Apple’s strives to interconnect its users media wirelessly. To even further prove their commitment to this movement, they have dropped the price of the Apple TV to $99. Apple has also opened up to numerous third-party audio companies to help them expand the versatility of AirPlay.