Although it looks like Apple is about to turn the Apple TV into a PlayStation-killing video game console, it’s not the indisputable king of the hill of streaming media boxes right now. Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast … all have their advantages over the Apple TV except for one killer feature: AirPlay Mirroring, which allows the Apple TV to stream anything running on your iPhone, iPad or Mac.
If you don’t have an Apple TV, you can’t use AirPlay Mirroring, right? Actually, you can — as long you have a Raspberry Pi.
Want to show off your vacation photos on a larger screen than your phone? Or quickly pull up a presentation that’s only on your friend’s iPad? We’ve all at some point wished there was a simple solution for streaming videos, apps, and games from a phone to a Mac or PC. Well, the AirServer is it—and we have it for $9.99 at Cult of Mac Deals.
One of the first thoughts I had when Apple announced AirPlay Mirroring as a feature in Mountain Lion was that it would make an excellent mobile presentation tool and one that would be far easier to bring to business meetings, trade shows, or client-site training events than hauling a projector. With just a MacBook Air and Apple TV, you can plug into any HDTV, display, or projector that supports HDMI and be ready to go. That’s a great combination for any business traveler.
If Apple does announce AirPlay Direct, a new version of AirPlay that doesn’t require a Wi-Fi network, the company will have made the lives of business travelers, trainers, and educators even easier. It will probably also make network administrators in both business and education a bit happier as well.
There are many premium content services that use DRM to limit where and how you can watch videos. iOS apps like HBOGO, DirecTV, and Amazon Instant Video will all let you watch content on your device, but you’re blocked from streaming via AirPlay or through an HDMI cable. We know, it’s silly. It’s all because of the contacts and licensing deals Hollywood makes with digital distributors.
What if there was a world in which no DRM could keep your content shackled to an iOS device? A new jailbreak tweak makes it possible to stream what you’re watching—no matter what the source—to your TV through the magic of AirPlay.
Mountain Lion includes over 200 new features. Some of them are dramatic and hard to miss while others are minor conveniences that don’t stand out immediately. Many of those big and small new features and improvements have a lot of appeal for business users.
Here’s a list of the many new features in Mountain Lion that can help professionals in almost any industry work smarter, more efficiently, and more effectively.
With OS X Mountain Lion, AirPlay Mirroring is finally coming to the Mac, allowing some Macs to stream audio and video directly to their Apple TV.
‘Some’ is the operative word here. Much to the disappointment of the vast majority of Mac owners who will be installing Mountain Lion on their machines in a couple weeks time, AirPlay Mirroring will only work if you have an iMac, MacBook Air or Mac Mini from mid-2011, or a MacBook Pro from early 2011.
There’s been a lot of conspiracy theories floated about this requirement. Some have argued that it’s forced obsolescence on Apple’s part, trying to force older Mac owners to upgrade their machines. Others have suggested that the reason Apple requires a Mac from 2011 or later is because of special DRM technology in Intel’s chips that didn’t debut until last year.
The truth of the matter, however, is far less sensational. The reason you need a 2011 Mac to make use of AirPlay Mirroring in OS X Mountain Lion is because the graphics in older Macs just don’t cut the mustard.
One of the killer features of OS X Mountain Lion is AirPlay Mirroring. Just like on your iPad or iPhone, AirPlay Mirroring will allow you to beam video and sound from your Mountain Lion Mac to an Apple TV connected to your television set. The result? If you’re someone like me who watches a lot of video on his MacBook Air, you’ll never have to reach for that Thunderbolt-to-HDMI converter again.
There’s only one problem with AirPlay Mirroring in Mountain Lion: inexplicably, it doesn’t work on all Macs. In fact, unless you have an iMac, MacBook Air or MacMini from mid-2011, or a MacBook Pro from early 2011, you can’t get in on Mountain Lion’s streaming action.
The Apple TV isn’t positioned as a business or enterprise product, but its small size, easy setup, and AirPlay make it a very solid presentation tool – and the low cost doesn’t hurt, either.
While the Apple TV has the obvious advantage of being wireless and integrated with other Apple products, specific business advantages beyond its small form factor and the ubiquity of HDTVs and other HDMI-enabled display devices like projectors aren’t always immediately obvious (though those are pretty big advantages in their own right) – but at least one company is designing its business solutions around Apple’s so-called hobby device.
Business Intelligence developer MicroStrategy has taken the Apple TV/iOS combination to a new level by building its mobile apps around AirPlay and the Apple TV.
A new Mac app called Reflection allows you to wirelessly mirror your iPhone 4S or iPad 2 screen on your Mac. Using the magic of AirPlay and OS X Lion, Reflection will allow you to view your iOS device’s screen in real time on your Mac display, no setup required. Screen activity can be recorded and saved to your desktop. You can even kick back and play your favorite iOS game on your giant iMac! Now that’s awesome.
Screens is one of many VNC apps available for the iPad and iPhone. Screens 2.0, which was released today, takes the concept of remote controlling a Mac or PC to another level. The update offers some very nifty features to the two year old app including integration with iCloud Siri, and AirPlay.
Screens isn’t one of the cheapest VNC solutions for iOS – it has a price tag of $19.99. The software backs up its somewhat steep cost by delivering a great user experience.
One of the features that immediately caught my eye about Mountain Lion was AirPlay Mirroring. As I noted yesterday, this offers a powerful presentation tool for business users as well as a great classroom addition for teachers and trainers.
Of course, it’s also a great entertainment solution and one that has some dramatic advantages over AirPlay Mirroring on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. Those advantages are likely to set the stage for a showdown between Apple and the entertainment industry.
This weekend broke news that Apple was already hard at work on OS X 10.8, so it would be natural to assume that in the next version of OS X, Cupertino will bring even more iOS functionality to their desktop operating system: stuff like Airplay and iMessages.
Nope. But don’t be too disappointed. AirPlay and iMessages are reportedly coming to OS X 10.7 Lion, instead.