Wired: Apple’s AirPlay is a really big deal

Apple Online Store“The iOS 4.2 update brings one really big new feature to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch: AirPlay,” Charlie Sorrel reports for Wired. “IPad users might be overjoyed with folders and support for background processes, but the real star is the new music and video-streaming function. It will change the way you consume your media, and it will justify all the AirPort Express units you have dotted around your home.”

“You’ll need a device running iOS 4.2, and at least one of the following: an AirPort Express, a v2 AppleTV, a third-party AirPlay-ready speaker, or a Bluetooth audio device. Using it is as easy as you’d expect when Apple controls the whole infrastructure. In any app that uses the standard media-controls (iPod, Video, Spotify, YouTube) you will see a new symbol, a rectangle being penetrated from underneath by a triangle. Tap this and a menu pops up showing available devices,” Sorrel reports. “From this menu, you simply pick where you want to send the media currently playing on your iDevice and, after a couple seconds buffering the signal, it starts. Audio will play anywhere, and video and/or audio will play on the AppleTV.”

Sorrel reports, “AirPlay really is a big deal, and you should expect to see it built-in to more and more third-party speakers and components in the future. Not only does it give you an instant, multi-room audio setup without a computer, it also turns your iPhone into a pocket home-theater.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The key to AirPlay is having at least one $99 Apple TV unit.


  1. “a rectangle being penetrated from underneath by a triangle”

    Yes, that’s my gay cousin. He has a very two dimensional personality and likes ’em thick at the base.

  2. I find the lack of support for iPhone video you shoot yourself with AirPlay very strange. I hope that gets added soon. And best add rotational control or you’ll be watching a lot of video sideways…

  3. Toslink mini to Toslink standard cable and a Mac with a optical out port to a quality high watt 5.1-7.1 surround sound stereo system with a decent 200 watt or better sub woofer. Adjust the surround settings for Theater Mode or Concert Mode like that so the music fills the room.

    You won’t to fiddle with, suffer delays and/or degrade your audio experience over cheap arse wifi.

    Just turn up the volume on the surround system to penetrate solid concrete and steel with a thousand watts of pure power, unlike the Airport which can’t penetrate anything past wood, and the neighbours in next block over will hear you for sure.

    And video, you need a nice big screen, in a big room with lots of other people around in comfy chairs. No need to stream.

  4. Nope, the iPhone can stream an iTunes movie or TV show directly to your AppleTV. The great thing about AppleTV is that you can stream from any Mac, PC or iDevice to your AppleTV. You don’t need a cable from every device in you house to your TV/surround sound system.

    Most houses don’t have ethernet cables running from every computer and internet provider to their home theatre systems. And most houses don’t have the newer TVs, receivers and DVD players with built-in wifi. The AppleTV solves those problems fairly cheaply.

  5. IMHO the new version of Apple TV is not an improvement over the original. Now I need to keep my desktop turned on to stream music or video instead of having it all loaded and waiting on the ATV. Also, I can’t control the volume through the Remote app, which is a real pain. I upgraded to 4.2.1 yesterday and found that streaming from the iPad or iPhone causes music to stutter and video to pause. (My wifi shows three bars, so that’s not the problem.) Shipping a photo via Airplay is an exercise in patience as it takes quite a while to load megapixel size pictures.

    I guess there would be an advantage to the new ATV in streaming rented $1.00 TV shows if there were any worth it in the anemic library. That’s about the only plus I see.

  6. HUGE. fun. awesome. now I suddenly have 4 music machines in my house. HUGE that iTunes and the computer are no longer needed – awesome that phone calls interrupt the music if streaming from my active iPhone.


  7. @ Ivid-
    Use the Monster Airport Express Stereo Connection kit.

    It’s got a Toslink connector cleverly built into the male mini jack.
    Pure digital, lossless and even supports surround.

    I use it and it’s friggin nice.

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