A few days ago Apple released iOS 4.2.1, and with it AirPlay. I have been waiting for this ever since the new Apple TV came out.
As expected, this eliminated my major gripe with the new Apple TV: lack of storage. Since I use a laptop, I did not like having to set it up, attach my external drives and then leave iTunes open when I wanted to watch one of my videos on the Apple TV. AirPlay lets me load multiple movies onto multiple iOS devices and then share them on my TV screen with the pus of a button. it’s transparent
And with multitasking now on the iPad, I can continue to use any of my iOS devices for other things, while the movie runs in the background. Right now Airplay video playback seems to be limited to the iPod functions and Youtube. Which brings me to my biggest annoyance about AirPlay.
Why would you not include playback from the photo app? I can shoot and edit videos right on the phone, but I have to sync them to iTunes before I can share them via AirPlay. This has to be an oversight. This has to be because they were rushing to get it done. It totally flies in the face of the immediate and social nature of AirPlay. I cannot imagine Apple not changing this with the next update.
Early on, there were reports from the developers that Airplay may allow any app that used Apple’s basic video playback components to share video. That does not seem to be the case. Most can stream audio, but not video. Of course, it is possible for AirPlay to work with third party apps, as some developers are already finding out. I just hope that the rumored iOS 4.3 frees up access.
Like many things with Apple, AirPlay delivers a lot, but leaves me wanting. It is a huge step forward for video integration in the home. I’m hoping as the feature “matures” we will see some of the improvements that seem to make sense.