It’s that time again! Apple has released OS update 4.3 for the iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple TV, and the iPad, bringing some cool new features to the respective devices. I could gab for centuries about iTunes Home Sharing and the addition of personal hotspots, but I’ll can that chatter in favor of more game-related stuff about the latest update. Specifically, I want to note the enhanced AirPlay offering.

In brief, the 4.3 version of AirPlay connectivity gives both Web apps and App Store apps the ability to output video to the Apple TV. I think you can see the possible gaming kickbacks from this move. If, say, Imangi was feeling froggy, it could theoretically update Imangi: The Game [Free] to output to Apple TV, thus allowing you to play from your couch on a big screen as opposed to alone and on a toilet. That’s cool, right?

Obviously, we’ll need to play a wait-and-see game on this feature. Surely, adding in this functionality will take time, tweaking, and testing, which means we’ll likely see a lackluster adoption rate initially. Plus, who owns an Apple TV? Even at its lower price point, it doesn't seem to be exactly flying off the Apple Store's shelves. Regardless, this is exciting stuff. Guess I really need to think about putting that plasma by the toilet after all.

So what are you waiting for? Download 4.3! Also, if you happen to have an Apple TV and want to check out this new AirPlay functionality, give Air Video [$2.99 / Free] a try. Sure, it's not a game but playing videos converted real time on my computer, streamed to my iPhone, then relayed to my TV feels like magic.

  • Marshmonkey

    I think you are still limited to broadcasting pre-rendered video files, not actually streaming video output of something like playing a game.

    • Eli Hodapp

      I've yet to really find any cut and dry explanation of what this new API can and can't do. If it is limited to streaming videos, what's stopping the Imangi word game from creating a 1 frame looping video that it streams as a clever workaround? It seems like there's some interesting potential for gaming here regardless of how limited it might actually be?

      • Anonymous

        I don't think that would be possible with the current API's as they currently require you to use a MPMoviePlayerController which is essentially just the video player that you see in all video apps. The problem there would be that you can't accept player input while the video controller is showing (It will just have the video controls on top of the AirPlay logo.)

        My guess is that Airplay will get a bigger update with iOS 5 that opens it up to live streaming any application. It will probably require an iPad 2/iPhone 5/iPod Touch 5th gen though if I had to guess, because of the increased cpu and video performance to push frames over a wireless connection in the background. But that is just my speculation.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah marshmonkey, I always see people talking about using AirPlay for gaming, but there's no evidence it would ever work. For gaming on the Apple TV, they're going to have to put up an app store for it, the games will reside on the Apple TV itself, and the iphone will work just as the controller. We know that would work because people have been doing it between iPhone and iPad (The Incident, Chopper 2).

  • dagamer34

    Air Video already supports AirPlay in iOS 4.3, plus the new version lets to stream WTV files from Windows Media Center recordings!

  • Deadclown

    But going from your computer to your phone to your Apple TV....what the max resolution?? No way can it be full rez 1080p (assuming the original file is), right?

    • Peteliability

      ATV supports up to 720p

      • Deadclown

        Ah, that's right. Still, could it even be that high? That would really surprise me.

  • Peteliability

    How many people have Apple TV? A lot - it's been ranked in the top 10-15 in electronics on Amazon since it was released.

  • Jackson Myers

    That sounds really cool! I'd like to update my app to output to AppleTV. It's not a game but a live webcam viewer app. I think it would be cool to have a slideshow of live webcam images from around the world on my HD TV. Hopefully that could work because it would basically be streaming still images like the photos app does. Only problem is I have yet to see any documentation on the AirPlay APIs. I'm definitely going to have to look into it.

    By the way, if you are interested, my app is called SlothCam.

    • Soul of Wit

      I'll check your app out just because the name is cool.

  • gee

    wow, airplay is thee only new function, what a shame.

    • Michael A. Robson

      Pretty sure there was some sports stuff.. Look elsewhere for full details.

  • MARl0

    I'll have to try this out. I got an Apple TV for free at my company Christmas party back in December.

  • Wadcha

    Yeah, I don't think we are going to see anything like App Streaming in the update but thanks for the momentary thrill Eli 🙂

    It is such a great concept and I hope we see it soon in a future iOS release.

    • Michael A. Robson

      "thanks for the momentary thrill Eli :)"

      Uh, isn't that what Airplay does? Apple's not the ones doing the games, they just build the platform. Now devs can experiment with this feature.. This is how TV Apps will come.

      • wadcha

        Uh, I was referring to streaming to Apple TV from Game Apps. This is a game site right? From what I've read and understand about the update, it will not support real time streaming of video and sound while you play on your iOS device as was inferred in the post. Eli's hypothetical scenario with Imangi is a no go, as much as we'd all love to see it.

  • MrJo

    This application lets you stream AirPlay content to your mac, compliments of Erica Sadun:

  • David994A

    I'm guessing that they dropped support for the iPhone 3G in iOS 4.3 because the iPhone 3G probably does not have enough power (processor) to do the Air Play.

  • cmader

    I don't understand why anyone would waste their money on such a limited device like the Apple TV. You can build a decent HTPC for under $500 that can do so much more. I went a little nuts when I built my HTPC a little over a year ago and spent just over $1000 but it can do so much (blu-ray player, two channel DVR, I would consider it a mid-range gaming PC, I can do CAD/CAM work with it, etc.). I have a feeling that if it didn't have that little apple logo on it nobody would buy it.

    • Simon

      It is a limited device, sure, but it is also a cheap device ($99), easy to use, and plug and play. A home-built HTPC is more expensive and beyond the abilities of the average consumer to configure & use.

      It isn't a device targeted at you. Also I think your 'HTPC' would be better categorised as a full-flung PC with HTPC interfaces 🙂

    • Anonymous

      My AppleTV complements my HTPC. I plan on putting one on every TV in my house.

  • Anonymous

    A jailbroken Apple TV 2 complete with XBMC has been the best thing ever for me. Out of the box, I agree that the ATV2 is a little lackluster (IMO) but with XBMC it's superb.

    Looks like I'm waiting a while before I put 4.3 on my ATV as a result.

  • Anonymous

    AirPlay will never work for games, because there's an unavoidable delay involved in streaming anything wirelessly.

    To get an idea of what I mean, try this (you'll need an Apple TV or AirPort Express connected to some speakers)…

    - Double-click the home button on your iOS device
    - Swipe to the right until you see the volume control
    - Tap the AirPlay button [▲] and select your Apple TV or AirPort Express for audio output
    - Play a game; the sound does come out of your remote speakers, but all the sound effects are delayed by a couple seconds

    When playing audio or video over AirPlay, you don't really notice the delay (except that it takes a moment to respond when you use the playback controls).

    Btw, "AirPlay for apps" isn't exactly new in iOS 4.3 — at least not for audio. Audio from any app (even older apps that haven't been updated in years) can be sent over AirPlay using the method I described above. This feature was there from the beginning.

  • Gas Scooters

    From what I've read and understand about the update, it will not support real time streaming of video and sound while you play on your iOS device as was inferred in the post. Eli's hypothetical scenario with Imangi is a no go, as much as we'd all love to see it.Gas Scooters