One of Apple's more "magical" features in the past year is AirPlay, which allows you to stream the screen from  your iPhone 4S or iPad 2 wirelessly to an Apple TV and right onto your HDTV. Soon, the new OS X Mountain Lion will allow you to do the same thing with your Mac, beaming whatever is on its screen to your TV wirelessly. In terms of gaming, AirPlay offers an additional avenue for playing iOS games – wirelessly on the living room TV – and some titles like Real Racing 2 HD have taken it a step further and offer a custom interface or additional features for playing the game that way.

While Apple has made it incredibly easy to beam the latest iOS devices to a television, and soon will be able to beam a Mac to a television, it's strange that there's not also the ability to stream an iOS device right onto a Mac. Someone else must have thought that was strange too, as there is now a new Mac app called Reflection that allows you to do just that. Streaming to a Mac using the Reflection app is just as simple as streaming to a television with an Apple TV. Just run the program on your Mac, and choose the AirPlay option on your iPhone 4S or iPad 2 and just like that it's on your computer screen.

This sort of functionality has all types of useful applications, but the first thing on my mind was how well games would play using Reflection. For the most part it works pretty good, and it will largely depend on which game you're playing whether you have a good experience or not. This is mostly due to the slight lag that is present when using Reflection, where your actions on your iOS device translate to your Mac just a tad off from real time. This tad can make a big difference in games that require precise and timely touches, and I shudder to think of playing something like Beat Sneak Bandit with that slight delay.

For lots of games that lag won't matter though, and it is pretty cool playing iOS games on my MacBook Pro. Another thing I noticed is that the frame rate in Reflection isn't as smooth as what's on the actual device, but it isn't terribly noticeable. Reflection also comes with the options to view the game in an iPhone or iPad frame, much like the simulator in the iOS SDK, or play in frameless or full screen modes. Reflection reacts accordingly when changing your device's orientation, and you can lock it in either portrait or landscape if need be.

Reflection is a neat piece of technology, I can see it being incredibly useful to some. But for gaming it feels more like a novelty due to the sluggishness of the performance, but it's still pretty neat and I think that performance will improve over time. If you own a Mac, you can grab a trial version of Reflection for free to test it out. It gives you just 10 minutes of time per day to mess around with it, but that's enough to see how it works and decide if it's something worth buying. If you do, the full version of Reflection will set you back $14.99 for a single license.

Product Website Link: Reflection App, $14.99 / Free Trial

  • Joel Wanner

    I. Want. That. Wallpaper.

  • Ariel Phifer

    What Joel said. We must have it.

  • pidge1114

    i just googled Super Mario wallpaper and found it.

  • Timothy Polumbo

    was this tested on mac or pc?  What are the specs of the computer used?  What are the specs of the wireless router used?

    • Ahiru Nakamura

      this is for mac only, if i'm not mistaken.
      i just tried and was impressed on how easy it is (well, apple devices communicate very well with each other anyways). but yes, it's kinda laggy and should at least have that "where-my-finger-is" highlight when the screen is touched. 

      not really worth 15 bucks as is, maybe with further enhancement it will be. cool feature nonetheless, but definitely not for gaming

  • Joshua Wyatt

    AirServer does the same thing, has been out for ages, and is only $7.99.

    • Ahiru Nakamura

      cool thanks for pointing that out.. does it stream games as well? or just media?

    • Ahiru Nakamura

      it doesn't seem to "mirror"... only to stream media like videos and photos... no wonder is half of the price

      • Amit Plaschkes

        Actually, Airserver just updated their app to include mirroring, although it seems that now it's 14.99$ as well.

      • Ahiru Nakamura

        thanks for the heads up.. lame, they were holding onto this so they actually raised the price to match it... does it stream any better though??

  • Burke Maurer

    can it go the other way around? 🙂

    • Porsupah

      Air Display does. ^_^   (Unless you're on a mid-2009 MacBook Pro with Lion. Guess what I'm using..)

  • Benjamin Asbeck

    I just tried it out and I'm impressed.  Suddenly I can stream my iPhone to the Mac that's hooked up to my TV.  I feel like I'm playing a console game with my iPhone as the controller.  Love it!

    • Brett Flury

      Apple TV does this as well... 🙂

  • Justin Rawcliffe

    anyone know any app or anything like this that can work with a pc?

    • Dave Lister

       Yes, Reflection 😀
      It's available for PC too ^^
      (but by now you might have found that out yourself since your post is 7 months old anyway)

  • Alex Comai

    will it work on snow leopard? because ive got snow leopard and its not working

    • Ahiru Nakamura

      yes, i'm on snow too. it worked, it takes a couple of minutes to "get it started" though (like the hanging rainbow spinning ball). then you should be in the same wireless network on your iphone/ipad and after the app is running (not hanging) you will see the "mirror" icon on your device.

  • Video Suite

    no go on a imac 27" i7 12GB ram,

     reflection has to be added to the firewall to allow incoming  connections; then one can only guess wif it will work, it certainly does with the firewall off

  • Mauricio Miguel

    Actually, its called reflector.