Netflix 5 brings HD video and AirPlay to iPads running iOS 7. You may have thought you had HD video streaming to your retina iPad, but you didn’t. 5 fixes that, and it also lets you throw your TV shows and movies up onto your big screen via Apple TV with native AirPlay streaming.
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The Netflix app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch has been updated to bring high-definition video streaming to devices running iOS 7. The release also adds support for AirPlay, and some improvements and optimizations that make the app more stable under Apple’s latest software.
With the exception of latency, AirPlay beats out Bluetooth audio streaming any day. Fewer dropouts, way better (lossless) quality and less power drain on your iDevice, as it works over the Wi-Fi connection you already have on anyway.
Usually, though, AirPlay speakers are expensive. The Auris Skye is designed to fix that, turning any dock connector into an AirPlay receiver.
Amazon has added AirPlay support to its popular video streaming app – Amazon Instant Video. Starting today, the new feature allows iOS users to push video from their iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to the Apple TV. Not quite as good as having an Amazon Instant Video channel on the Apple TV, but the move is sure to satisfy Amazon Prime users for the time being.
The update also includes more IMDB integration with cast info, ratings, trivia and quotes. Amazon also says the updated app is faster, more responsive and now supports concurrent downloads. There’s also a new “Customers who watched this also watched…” feature to help users discover more movies and spend more time and money on Amazon. The free update is available now in the App Store.
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The Wren V5AP is just about the best-looking speaker I’ve tested, with a tastefully contemporary case finished with bamboo and silvered cloth.
Works With: AirPlay devices, anything with a jack
It’s also one of the best sounding, and although it might not be as convenient as some other AirPlay speakers, it makes up for it in other ways.
Spotify announced today that it is launching a new way to streaming music to connected speakers around the house with its new “Spotify Connect” feature that is coming to a line-up of Spotify-supported speakers.
The new AirPlay-like feature allows you to walk into your house and seamlessly switch from listening to your playlist on your iPhone to playing music on your living room speakers. You current listening session is synced up to the cloud so you can switch faster without stopping the flow of music.
Unlike AirPlay though, Spotify Connect will cost you some money as the feature will only be available soon to Premium subscribers. Third-party OEMs are expect to roll out Connect supported speakers later this year.
Here’s a promo video on how Connect works:
Infuse is my favorite third-party media player for the iPhone and iPad. And until VLC for iOS returned to the App Store, there was really no competition. FireCore, the maker of Infuse, isn’t letting other apps get the last word. In today’s big update, Infuse has received a number of great features, including support for AirPlay and file transfers over Wi-Fi.
One of my most-used Mac apps is Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil, a utility which hijacks the audio from any app you like and pipes it to your AirPlay speakers. It synced audio and video over AirPlay before Apple added the feature (back when it was called AirTunes), and is a great way to send the same music to every one of the stack of wireless speakers I’m testing at any one time (it’s like a bad disco in here).
Now, there is Airfoil Remote, which lets you control Airfoil for Mac from your iPhone.
The best thing about AirPlay is that it just works. It takes about two taps to send audio from an iPhone to an Apple TV or other supported device. The downside to AirPlay is that Apple owns it exclusively, and accessory makers have to pay a licensing fee to use it in their products. That means customers pay more for an average AirPlay-capable speaker vs. a Bluetooth box.
DoubleTwist, a small developer team behind some gorgeous Mac and Android apps, has an open source alternative to AirPlay called MagicPlay.
It’s our own fault. We all asked Apple to dramatically change the look and feel of the iOS operating system, which, until yesterday, remained largely unchanged since the introduction of the original iPhone back in 2007. And we all complained when it didn’t do that with iOS 6 this time last year.
But I can’t help but feel the Cupertino company is now punishing us for all those requests, and all that complaining we did before about its skeuomorphic designs.
When it comes to design, iOS 7 is vastly different to its predecessors. It still functions in much the same way — though there are some new features you’ll need to get used to — but it looks completely different. As soon as you power it up for the first time the minimalistic feel is staring back at you, but it isn’t until you’ve completed the setup process and arrived at your home screen that you want to vomit in your own lap.