Apple started shipping out Apple TVs to the masses this week and the blogosphere is buzzing about some not so hidden features. Apple’s AirPlay technology was demoed by Steve Jobs last month as he was streaming movies off of an iPad. Even though it isn’t fully active on Apple TV just yet (just audio for now), that hasn’t stopped some tech blogs from noticing AirPlay options showing up in third-party iPad apps. Does this mean we’ll be able to stream any video playing on our mobile iOS device to the TV? We’ll take a look after the jump. The folks at 9to5Mac noticed that when watching video on some third-party apps (after updating their iPad to 4.2), they were able to stream audio using AirPlay to their Airport Express. Daring Fireball also noted that apps using iOS built-in media controllers (Safari, Netflix, Dropbox, Mail and MobileMe all use it) are automatically able to use Airplay. Apple has yet to officially state whether third-party apps could stream video to the Apple TV but by the looks of things, it seems likely.
Being able to stream video content to your television from a web-connected mobile device is a game changer. It solves this whole problem of wanting to have the internet on your television. The main reason people want to have the internet on their television sets is so they can watch web video content. Your iOS device is already connected to the internet with a great interface to find content, so using your device to search for videos and having your TV as a display makes a lot of sense.
Imagine streaming content from your Dropbox or an email. Imagine easily showing a group of friends some YouTube videos on the television without having to touch a mouse and keyboard. With companies like Google trying to shoehorn the internet to your TV, it seems like Apple just might have a clean, elegant solution up their sleeve with AirPlay.
Of course this is all speculative until Apple updates AirPlay in November, so it looks like only time will tell.