How iOS5 Turns AppleTV + iPad2 Into A Wireless Games Console Setup [iOS5]

Ben Dodson's demo

Developer Ben Dodson has uncovered some cool stuff inside iOS5 that can turn your AppleTV and iPad2 into a wireless games console setup.

Thanks to the new display mirroring feature (currently supported by iPad 2), apps don’t have to have AirPlay functionality built in before you stream what they’re displaying to your AppleTV. Any app will work.

But there’s something else: any app that uses Apple’s TV-out functionality can now wirelessly send a secondary display image to your AppleTV. Until now, the only way to make this work was by using a cable.

Ben made a test app to demonstrate, one that sends Google Maps to his TV while creating a virtual trackpad space on his iPad screen to manipulate it with. Here’s a short video to explain it:

How iOS5 Turns AppleTV + iPad2 Into A Wireless Games Console Setup [iOS5]

Ben says this is most exciting for gamers. It won’t take much effort by game developers to add the TV-out functionality – and then anyone will be able to use their iPad (or, as Ben does in his demo video, an iPhone) as a wireless controller for whatever’s happening on their big TV screen.

You wanted apps on your TV? Boom. You got ‘em.

  • GregsTechBlog

    I’m hoping to see more games support video out. Only a select few take advantage of this feature right now. 
    I love being able to sit back and use my iPhone 4 as a controller for a game on my TV. 

  • dagamer34

    Real Racing needs the ability to use the iPhone as a controller.

  • Stuart Otterson

    Which makes it all the more interesting how the Nintendo Wii U will fare in the long run.

    Course the issue here is that to do video out and mirroring without a cable you also need an Apple TV, plus you actually need a load of great games that will appease the self titled ‘hardcore’ crowd, but I still firmly believe Apple are gradually encroaching on traditional games console territory, least on the edges, chipping away a little.

    Perhaps in the grander scheme of things having the edges being chipped away isn’t an issue so long as the ‘hardcore’ crowd are satisfied by console offerings. Personally I think Apple is already an attractive platform for traditional game developers and with the hardware getting better each year and more people on the iOS platform that gaming market can only continue to grow in size and sophistication.

  • Patrick Worsham

    Damn, you stole my thunder!  Wii U was exactly what I was thinking!

  • George Wedding

    I’ve been doing this for months now using a few select iOS Apps that make available companion  wireless server Applets for the Mac. Chopper 2 and Pinball HD are two such examples. iOS gaming with an HDTV and a surround sound is loads of fun and I can’t wait for it to come to AppleTV. Step aside Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. There’s a new system that promises to belnd the best of console and mobile gaming.

  • WVMikeP

    THIS is why AppleTV won’t native apps.  This, IMO addresses the issue from a user experience perspective while Google merely thought, “apps! TV! apps on TV!” and in the end, created a half-baked experience.

  • Nemo

    Now imagine if a companion app downloaded and ran natively on your appletv (automatically via iCloud) and a controller app worked on your iOS device. Come on Apple, put apps on the AppleTv already and blow -all- of this out of the water.

  • CharliK

    You might not even need that. Just a hand ful of applied api’s that put the right stuff on the right screens. Real Racing also does the view and controller mode with the cable in use. Airplay does it with keeping the controllers on the ipad when you send video to the TV. etc

    And with some 1500 or more new APIs now out there, I’m betting all the ones to make this ‘mode’ work are there. 

  • CharliK

    But the Apple TV already does native apps. Netflix, NBA etc. 

  • CharliK

    Agreed on that particular one. The ipad is very clumsy. But what would really really be good is the video on the TV, the map on the ipad and you use the iphone/touch as the actual controller. 

    I could also see something like this being used with an app like Keynote. Slides on the screen, notes nice and big on the ipad and the iphone in your hand is the ‘remote’ for changing slides.

  • WVMikeP

    You know exactly what I mean. C’mon.

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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