The first thing I do when people ask me to show them how to use their new Apple TV is to mirror the screen of my iPhone 4S to their device. It’s guaranteed to impress, especially if your audience is unaware the tiny black box could do that. You can see gears turning as people think about the implications of that capability combined with the apps they already use and love. And that’s why AirPlay should be a focal point for developers from here on out.Hedging bets in case of an Apple television
That’s something Revolution Studios co-founder Tony Warriner suggested could be a good idea for game devs in an interview Wednesday with PocketGamer.biz. Warriner said that AirPlay is “worth doing now, because as we all know, a big TV play from Apple is just around the corner,” even though for now it’s “like the big forgotten iOS feature” in many game developers’ minds.
Warriner’s suggestion for game developers to bake-in AirPlay features now is mostly about future-proofing products, but even if an Apple TV set takes a long time to come to market, there’s plenty of cause to use AirPlay now, for game developers and makers of any and all iOS apps, regardless of their niche or focus.Apple TV’s shifting role
The current Apple TV is basically a great Netflix box for most users, which now also has the added advantage of being a full-featured audio and video streaming device for your mobile phone or tablet for just $99 (or $89 now, at Best Buy and Amazon). But in the near future, the Apple TV could see a role switch, with the expanded content of the entire App Store displacing the Netflix appeal as a number one reason for owning and using the Apple set-top device.
The increased flexibility allowed by AirPlay Mirroring on Apple’s latest iPhone and iPad mean that developers should start thinking about AirPlay not as an afterthought or preventative measure against future obsolescence, but as a value-add competitive advantage that can help their product stand out from the growing crowd that is the App Store.Go beyond the bare minimum
AirPlay compatibility isn’t just about allowing your content to be displayed on a TV when thrown from one device to another. It’s about making sure there’s a unique experience that only AirPlay users can access. Note that this also doesn’t mean taking anything away from the app itself as a standalone mobile product; just that users who can take advantage of the benefits of owning the Apple TV do have something more to make use of.
For some developers, providing a value-add AirPlay experience could be as simple as deciding to include a video or slideshow alongside an article that can be thrown to the screen instead of providing text-based content alone, or making sure it works in landscape orientation so it looks better on a TV. But more ambitious (and therefore more stand-out) examples could provide supplemental information or additional screens with hands-on demonstrations displayed back on the originating device while AirPlay video or slideshows appear on the TV screen. It’s definitely possible, as Real Racing 2 HD’s dual-screen gameplay mechanism demonstrates.One more reason to buy
The bottom line is that if I’m looking at a video-focused app right now, I’ll try to find out how well it handles AirPlay. If it doesn’t, or if the experience is less than ideal, I’ll pass and try to find another. Soon, if any two apps are relatively close in terms of features and function, but one offers a tailored AirPlay experience while the other doesn’t, it could become a crucial factor in a buying decision. The Apple TV isn’t yet a barn-burner in terms of sales, but lower prices should help, and it is still ranked number one in Amazon’s Digital Media Devices sales charts, and number two in Television & Video.
Plus, AirPlay will only come to more devices as Apple goes about its regular update cycle, and could even come to the Mac. In an ecosystem where discoverability can be a problem and marketing advantages are few and far between, real AirPlay innovation and dual-screen interfaces are the next frontier, and I can’t wait to see some pioneering developers stake their claims.
Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.
- Connected world: the consumer technology revolution
- Mobile Q3: the fight for OS domination continues
- Connected Consumer Q2: Digital music meets the cloud; e-book growth explodes
Nasdaq quotes delayed at least 15 minutes, all others at least 20 minutes.
Markets are closed on certain holidays. Stock Market Holiday List
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Press Release Service provided by PRConnect.
Stock quotes supplied by Telekurs USA
Postage Rates Bots go here