iPhone 5 AirPlay Direct, Will it Work?

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.

apple iphone airplay icon

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 direct part comes in with the iPhone creating its own network to stream music directly to a compatible device, with no external Wi-Fi network required. Apparently, Apple has yet to approve any specific products that will use the technology. The company is planning to encourage the use of AirPlay as a wireless substitute for plugging mobile devices in, or connecting them via Bluetooth.

Although Apple claims AirPlay provides a better experience than other methods of streaming music and video, some users have experienced hiccups when trying to use compatible products. Whether or not this improves with iOS 6 and AirPlay Direct remains to be seen. Range could be an issue, as the iPhone 5 will need to communicate directly with a compatible dock or speaker setup.

AirPlay debuted on the iPhone with iOS 4.2 in fall 2010. Since then Apple has been continuing to add features such as AirPlay Mirroring and the ability for third-party developers to stream media.