September 29, 2010
Airplay is possibly the most exciting iOS feature Apple has released since multitasking. It has incredible potential, and while we're still waiting to see what Apple will really do with it, they already leaked a couple of details this week that will whet your appetite. Apple told Fox News during their review of Apple TV that, as suspected, they will indeed open the feature to developers. What does that mean? For sure they'll let apps stream audio and video over the air, which is great. Will they take it even further and allow apps to stream an external view? Something other than video? Perhaps generated on-the-fly, like for a game, for example? We don't know right now, but it sure is interesting. We've already told you about the potential. The threat of big ticket apps like Hulu or Netflix restricting the use of the feature can't be underestimated. This is uncharted territory when it comes to licensing deals, so it might not even be up to the developers. Furthermore, despite many outlets receiving a demo unit, the ability for AirPlay to relay video was not yet available to them, and reportedly won't be until November. However, Engadget learned that users will be able to multitask while "Airplaying," but it will prevent putting the device to sleep until the broadcast is completely stopped:
For instance, we were told that while you can multitask on a device you’re pushing content from, you can’t put it to sleep, even if it’s docked or charging. That means the screen will dim, but not shut off entirely, which seems like a weird choice. Hopefully the company will add some kind of charging awareness that allows you to pick some content, dock the device, and sleep the screen.This isn't much of a surprise, you don't want your iPhone 4 disconnecting from Wi-Fi while you are showing off the footage you took earlier that day on a large screen TV. In my opinion, I don't think Apple itself knows quite what it will make out of Airplay, which would explain why they are totally underselling it right now. There is a lot at stake, and from my own experience with the audio only feature that is available now, Airplay is magical, and it will be huge.