How AirPlay Is Apple’s Secret Weapon Against Android


If Google doesn't respond quickly to AirPlay, the consequences could be severe for Android.
If Google doesn't respond quickly to AirPlay, the consequences could be severe for Android.

One of Steve Jobs’s favorite quotes was by Wayne Gretzky, a famous hockey player: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” From the beginning, Apple has been all about looking ahead to the next greatest thing, not concerning itself with aligning with other companies.

It might be Google’s turn to take a lesson from Apple and do the same, or they may miss out on an opportunity of monumental proportion. What is the opportunity you ask? AirPlay.

Over the last few years, Apple has created an ecosystem of devices based around AirPlay, a handy way to stream audio, video, photos, and now even your screen between the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. In typical Apple fashion, AirPlay is a seamless solution that “just works” and requires practically no setup. Though it started out small, AirPlay is quickly becoming a core feature of both the Apple TV and iOS.

Apple realizes that many people are being drawn to the AirPlay ecosystem in the same way that they were drawn to the simple to use iTunes ecosystem back in the early days of the iPod. So with every new iteration of iOS and the Apple TV, Apple integrates AirPlay more and more tightly, in order to draw more people to the platform.

Google and Apple are often polar opposites, and this is no exception. While Apple is looking ahead to what consumers want down the road, Google is sitting on the technology behind AirPlay and not marketing it. Due to this, customers are flocking to iOS in droves. provides evidence to back this trend up. According to Elliot Van Buskirk: “Every day, for months, the most popular search terms to have been “airplay android” and “android airplay.”

If Google doesn’t step up and realize what’s happening, we could see history repeating itself again, on a scale of iPod proportions. Just as the MP3 market was shaken by the iTunes ecosystem 10 years ago, we could see the same happen in the smartphone market if Google doesn’t wake up and smell the AirPlay flavored coffee.

The future doesn’t look too good, either. Just over a month ago, the CEO of Time Warner admitted that he had no idea what AirPlay was. Let’s hope Google is a little more well informed.




  • Jhabril Harris

    Oh well, at least they didn’t bash Microsoft too, probably remembering about Intel’s Wireless Display technology.

  • David_Lazarus

    Airplay is brilliant. Streaming videos to my Apple TV from either my iMac or iPad makes everything so handy. Over the last few years I have built up a wireless network of printers TV and numerous speakers and I can send it from any device. Best of all it is so simple to set up.

  • Jhabril Harris

    Plus, what does Time Warner have anything to do with Google’s case with AirPlay?

  • Hondamaker

    Lol @ ‘a little more well informed’.

  • Flyphoenix

    I found air play on my music app for a couple of seconds but then it went away. I don’t know what I did.

  • rick_tap

    Last night i was shocked by your post about the auto-layout addition to the sdk. But today you just proved that you can go even further with this crap.

    I own one of that nifty little boxes called apple tv and i really enjoy using it. Although my 2010 MBA can’t airplay to it, because of it’s C2D, though I enjoy using my iPad 2 with it.
    But to be honest, for games it stinks, it has a really long input-lag. For videos, I found, I can hardly use it. Sky, as one of many, won’t let me stream their content to it, mirroring makes it behave really weird, plus, it’s not 16:9 then.

    It’s definitely a good technology and it made me buy the AppleTV, but no, it’s not a selling point. And no, it won’t affect Android sales. I know so many Android users and I haven’t heard once “oh, I would switch sides, just for the sake of AppleTV” it’s NOT gonna happen.

    But why? Mainly because it’s not even intended to be a big selling point. Second of all, it costs you another 99$, third point, Android devices found their own ways. They have stands and HDMI equipement these days. Motorola even offers a remote for your telephone, so you can have it hooked up to your tv and still use it.
    The Samsung S3 has it’s “AllShare Cast Wireless Streaming Dongle” that IS AirPlay and more are about to follow.

    Funny is also, that you always mention google. But it’s also their OEM’s that really drive what’s coming to Android.

  • sinfm

    “It might be Google’s turn to take a lesson from Apple and do the same, or they may miss out on an opportunity of monumental proportion. What is the opportunity you ask? AirPlay.”

    How is copying Airplay Google’s opportunity to look ahead at the next great thing and not concern itself with aligning with other companies

  • Evil_Scot

    What Android Users are looking for is Digital Networked Lifestyle Association. Really catchy and not at all a mouthfull. And the acronym is really memorable DLNA??? It’s not much wonder equipment manufacturers are putting their own name to it. Is Viera cast compatible with Allshare ?

    Surprisingly DNLA is just as simple to setup as airplay. My personal favourite is 8player. From here I can browse content on my PC or NAS box via my iPad and then play/display it on my Sony TV.
    For content playback Airplay wins on marketing. DLNA could be stronger if people understood what it was. However if I was more of a gamer Airplay’s dual screen capability would clinch the deal.