As is tradition, Apple was once again infamously absent at the biggest technology show of the year, CES. The company hasn’t actually stayed out of the headlines over the past week, however. Apple didn’t do any announcing of its own, but it was name-checked in practically all press conferences held by the biggest consumer tech brands at CES. The reason? AirPlay 2.
For the unfamiliar, AirPlay is Apple’s wireless streaming protocol. In humanspeak, it’s the tech that lets you play music from your iPhone on your living room speaker from anywhere in the house, provided you have a WiFi signal. The most notable feature of AirPlay 2, released last spring, is the ability to push audio to multiple speakers. The reason AirPlay has been talked about so much as CES, though, is because of its video streaming capabilities.
AirPlay has long supported photo viewing and video streaming over WiFi, including screen mirroring. The problem has previously been that hardly anything supports it, other than the Apple TV (naturally) and a handful of third-party receivers you’ve never heard of. Some complicated software workarounds exist too, but Apple has finally begun partnering with some the biggest TV manufacturers to bake AirPlay 2 into their sets, meaning you’re no longer being shoved firmly in the direction of the Apple TV if you want to push video from your iPhone, iPad or Mac onto the big screen. And it’s about time too, considering there are loads of TVs that support Chromecast, Google’s AirPlay equivalent.