I’ve already gushed about how much I love my new Apple TV and my iPhone 4 several times now, and many of my readers are probably sick to death of me bowing at the feet of Steve Jobs and whatever Apple has released lately. Still, the new AirPlay functionality manages to connect these two beloved products together in a really cool way, so I felt compelled to write about it.
Besides, I haven’t yet joined the mania around the MacBook Air, and as of this writing have still resisted the urge to buy an iPad that I don’t really need, so give me SOME credit… But, I digress.
So anyway, AirPlay.
As part of the free Apple iOS 4.2 operating system update, AirPlay lets you wireless stream content from your portable device, such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, to your household speakers or television. Though the functionality does include connecting to wireless speakers, or speakers connected to a wireless AirPort Express, that’s not what I’m jazzed about.
Let’s say you’re watching a television show or movie from iTunes on your iPhone or iPad… And you decide that you’d rather watch it on the big screen television in your living room. With AirPlay, you can wirelessly stream your content from your portable device through your Apple TV and into your giant HDTV, all with a few taps on the screen. From there, you can control the playback through your iPhone/iPad or using the Apple TV remote.
The same thing holds true for playing music through the speakers in your home entertainment system, playing music videos on the television, and even displaying photos on the big screen. But for me, the video options are what really makes this valuable.
Here’s a video highlighting the key features of the AirPlay service:
Yes, I know this is all part of Steve Jobs’s master plan to make Apple fanatics like me eventually insist on a fully integrated Apple household, where all information/entertainment/communications devices are Apple-branded and synced together… Apple will surely one day become a prettier version of SkyNet, though hopefully not quite so malevolent.
And frankly, I’m okay with that. All hail Apple!