One reason, which is arguably the main reason, that I bought the new Apple TV was its planned support for AirPlay. The idea of instantly viewing my photos and videos from my iPhone on my TV wirelessly was just too futuristic to not want to be a part of it.
Well, iOS 4.2 is now officially out and Apple has pushed an update out to its Apple TV. Thankfully, AirPlay was included in that update, but it's still not offering up exactly what was promised by Steve Jobs.
I had a chance to test out AirPlay video at my house yesterday. For my test I loaded up a movie on my iPhone and hit play. I was immediately greeted with an icon that when pushed gave me the choice of either playing it on my iPhone or streaming on my Apple TV.
Notice the icon
Select Apple TV
One click on Apple TV and regardless of where the Apple TV was in the menu system, the video started playing.
The above is exactly the way I had hoped AirPlay video would work. Simply click on the icon, select Apple TV and the streaming begins. Unfortunately, Apple has not yet implemented AirPlay Video where it counts. For example, you can stream your videos and even YouTube to the Apple TV (why would I stream YouTube if there's a YouTube player on Apple TV?) but you can't stream your photos or your own videos that you took with your iPhone's camera. Since these two features were mentioned and "sold" in the initial announcement of AirPlay, one can only assume they're coming soon--but when?
As I mentioned previously, the ability to stream my own homemade movies and photos to my TV via Apple TV was one of the main selling points. With that delayed, and with an unknown release date, I feel a class action suit coming on. I should clarify that I wouldn't be the one bringing it, but I know that there are people out there who can't wait to go after Apple on things like this.
In the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy streaming my movies, and wait patiently for Apple to release another update to AirPlay and / or iOS 4.2.2 (since 4.2.1 was already in developer's hands).
One more thing: for a complete rundown of what works and doesn't work in AirPlay, check out my colleague Jason's post.