One of the key advantages to Apple TV for iPhone owners is AirPlay. While tvOS continues to offer new features and easy access to content, sometimes sharing content directly from the iPhone to the big screen is best. In fact, since AirPlay is peer-to-peer technology, friends and family interested in showing photos or video from their iPhones don't even have to be connected to the local Wi-Fi network. Once the Apple TV is set up, follow these steps to share from any app on the iPhone using AirPlay:
Imagine a future where the Apple TV streams content via AirPlay to mobile devices. An Apple patent titled "Displaying a synchronized instance of content on a portable electronic device" explains this very process in detail. Normally, content is sent from an AirPlay enabled app on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the Apple TV.
The patent explains the reverse of this process, with a fixed display system such as the Apple TV feeding synchronized content to the portable device. The iOS device viewing the content would automatically determine if the content being streamed is compatible and can be viewed. If so, the content would be synchronized and delivered via AirPlay on a Wi-Fi network. What's more interesting is the possible scenarios that make this functionality useful.
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.