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  • What's the Deal With AirPlay?
Technology Articles > Cell Phones > iPhone > What's the Deal With AirPlay?

“If you don’t have an iPhone, you can’t do ___” the commercial goes. If you watch television, you’ve likely seen Apple commercials featuring a happy iPhone user connecting his iPhone wirelessly to a television or other device. What you may not realize is that you can only connect your iPhone to other devices wirelessly through Apple’s AirPlay device.

So, what is AirPlay and how do you get one? Learn all about Apple’s AirPlay device here, and then decide if you want to be as blissful as those commercial actors.

What Is AirPlay?

Essentially, AirPlay is Apple’s way of letting Apple users stream videos, photos, and music wirelessly. For example, if you wanted to display photos that you took with your iPhone on a television (we’ll get to this in a minute), you can use AirPlay to do so. You can also use AirPlay to stream music and videos.

AirPlay is somewhat new, but not entirely new. Apple released AirTunes awhile ago, but added some additional features in 2010 (when the iPhone 4 came out). When these features were added, AirTunes became AirPlay. Now, it seems as though Apple is trying to revive interest in AirPlay through various commercials.

Consider This Before You Buy

Presently, it is only possible to stream pictures or videos to your television if you own an Apple TV. AirPlay is not compatible with other televisions, though it is rumored that Apple is currently working with various televisions manufacturers to make AirPlay a possibility with a number of TVs. You might want to hold off until this happens, or you can purchase an Apple TV ($99).

The sound systems that AirPlay is compatible with tend to be on the pricey side. This is fine if you can afford to drop thousands on a new speaker system, but don’t expect AirPlay to work with your current system (unless, of course, it happens to be compatible).

You will also be disappointed if you want to stream different music to different rooms. At the time being, there is no way to do this using your Apple device. It’s also a bit tricky to stream music or photos to more than one device at a time. Lastly, AirPlay works with Wi-Fi. Wi-Fir is great, when it works. When it doesn’t work, Wi-Fi can be a pain.

Who Should Buy AirPlay

If you want to have AirPlay as a novelty item (and, hey, it is fun to stream photos and music to a television), and you don’t mind buying an Apple TV, then go for it. You can always purchase an Apple TV for one room in your home, while you use another TV in your living or entertainment room. Again, I’d wait until AirPlay becomes compatible with a number of different televisions, this would make the most sense.

Even though those Apple commercials make AirPlay seem like magic, this tool doesn’t work as well as one would hope. There is, however, potential here, and no other company could develop this kind of potential better than Apple. This reviewer has strong hopes that Apple will make AirPlay even better over the next year or so. When that happens, it will be hard for Apple to keep consumers away from AirPlay.