Apple’s plans to include AirPlay Mirroring in OS X Mountain Lion is a bigger deal than most people realize. For those who are unfamiliar with AirPlay Mirroring, it wirelessly transfers what’s on the screen of your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to an HDTV or projector via Apple TV.
AirPlay Mirroring for Macs has a great deal of potential for businesses and educators wanting to show presentations on a large screen but the reason it’s a big deal is the possibilities it presents for the living room.
It’s true that you can already connect a computer to an HDTV with a HDMI cable but being able to do it wirelessly is a big step forward. For instance, if have a computer in a bedroom you will be able mirror the computer to your HDTV wirelessly even if your TV is in your Living room. You could then control the computer with an app on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.
This will mean you can send videos, movies and TV shows that are not in iTunes from your Mac to your HDTV. That includes anything in your web browser or any other software.
Media companies such as Hulu, ABC, CBS and NBC are able to block content from being broadcast devices like Google TV and Boxee but that won’t be the case with AirPlay Mirroring on a Mac. The websites browser detection will only show that you are viewing the content on a Mac. This will instantly give people another method of viewing online content on the big screen.
AirPlay Mirroring for Mac could also be used for gaming. Yes, you could have a game running on your Mac and play it in the living room on your HDTV. Your HDTV basically becomes another display for your computer.
In order for this to hit the mainstream Apple TV will need to be upgraded to 1080p and have a faster processor than the current A4 chip but that is likely to become a reality in the next few weeks. Picture quality and little to no lag time will be extremely important, especially for games. Currently, using Apple TV and AirPlay Mirroring on an iPad or iPhone 4S for gaming is less than ideal but this will likely change with the upcoming Apple TV 3. We will know more about performance when the updated Apple TV arrives.
What this also does is it continues to integrate Apple products. Apple designing their products to work together in this fashion gives people incentive to buy new Apple products, continuing the Halo effect the company is well known for.
After OS X Mountain Lion is made available to the public this summer just about everyone that owns a compatible Mac is going to want to have an Apple TV.