Apple AirPlay performs exactly as it sounds: It allows the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Mac computers to stream video, music, and audio across a home or office Wi-Fi connection to television sets and cordless speakers—though not without caveats. First, movies and pictures can be sent only to television sets paired with an Apple TV storage box ($99). Second, streaming tunes requires an Apple TV, an AirPlay-enabled speaker system, or an AirPort Express wireless router ($99) that can be connected to a normal speaker system. Also required is iOS version 4.2 or higher for mobile gadgets and iTunes 10.1 for Mac computers.
With the latest iOS 4.3 software, you can stream video directly from the photos app in your iPad or iPhone to Apple TV. You can also play a photo slideshow using the themes Apple TV offers.
Available Gear: Denon and Marantz offer a downloadable AirPlay software patch ($49.99; www.dmpro.com) for their respective audio/video receivers that control wireless home theater and multi-room stereo setups. The companies’ AVR devices range from $699 to $2,499. The Zeppelin Air speaker dock is available from Bowers & Wilkins for $599 (www.bowers-wilkins.com).
What’s next: A number of AirPlay-enabled speakers will hit shelves in 2011 including one-piece speaker sets such as the iHome iW1 ($299 in Summer 2011; www.ihome.com) and three offerings from Klipsch (available later this year, starting at $399).
Very easy to use
Works with iTunes content
Can stream YouTube and other online video
Can’t handle 1080p
Only works with Apple TV for video streaming