Now anyone with an extra $48 and some computer skills can make their old stereo into a Wi-Fi AirPlay receiver. Normally you would drop $100 or more on a device (like the Apple TV) that can stream audio from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Using the Raspberry Pi miniature computer, engineering student Jordan Burgess has saved himself over $50 and illustrated exactly how to create your own AirPlay receiver.
The finished product uses Shairport open source software, gets its power from a microUSB cable, and connects to the stereo using a mini 3.5mm audio cable. Selecting to output sound from your iPhone to the stereo is as simple as selecting AirPi as the output from the AirPlay menu in whatever iOS app you're using to play the music.
With all of the iPhone 5 rumors floating around, improvements to AirPlay don't sound too interesting on the surface. Some iPhone owners just wish that Apple's wireless streaming technology worked better in general. Well now The Telegraph reports that component manufacturers are getting ready for a major change to AirPlay.
The new version is called AirPlay Direct, and it's expected to launch this fall with iOS 6 and the next generation iPhone. The term AirPlay Direct is not even final as Apple puts the finishing touches on its media event planned for September 12. Currently, AirPlay requires a Wi-Fi network and compatible streaming device.
The ability to stream music from your iPhone directly to speakers or an AirPlay-enabled device like the Apple TV is one of the perks of iOS. Some music apps, like Pandora, include a handy AirPlay button that makes turning on streaming simple. So how do you get other music playing applications on the iPhone to use AirPlay?
Just because the app developer didn't include the AirPlay button directly in the app interface doesn't mean you're out of business. Apple has included a default AirPlay switch in iOS along with volume controls on the multitasking dock. Accessing AirPlay from any music app is possible as long as your AirPlay-compatible devices are properly configured on your Wi-Fi network.
The iPhone 4S is not the "highly-anticipated" iPhone Apple fans were waiting for. It's safe to assume many fanboys were disappointed by Tim Cook's announcement, but Apple is sticking to its claim that this is the "most amazing iPhone yet." It didn't deliver a new "teardrop" design, or many of the other features we were promised, but it does have the rumored 8 megapixel camera and A5 chip. Hate it, love it or just don't care, here's a list of all the specifications and features for the new iPhone 4S.
Developers playing with iOS 5 beta 3 have discovered that it features AirPlay mirroring. AirPlay allows you to mirror your FaceTime video chats to a larger screen. If AirPlay mirroring makes it to the final version of iOS 5, your iPhone or iPad could change business conferences, future Twilight fan club meetings, or long distance family chats. No more trying to huddle around your iPad to wave at Grandma.
The initial images of AirPlay from iOS 5 aren't that impressive (see above), but it seems like a small price to pay for the possible benefits. However, AirPlay may get a boost from the next generation iPhone or iPad, depending of what kind of camera they have.
iOS 4.2 adds limited AirPlay support to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. First of all, AirPlay is not supported on the iPhone 3G. Secondly, the AirPlay icon (shown below) will only appear within specific apps and on the multitasking dock if an AirPlay-enabled device is detected on your Wi-Fi network.