Your options for streaming entertainment in your home are expanding once again. Google announced on Monday that it would be bringing the technology behind Chromecast to speakers, sound bars, and A/V receivers with a new initiative called Google Cast for audio. Want to transmit music from your phone, tablet or desktop to an external device? Just click the cast button and find a Google Cast Ready speaker. It’s that easy.
The race to control the living room has already begun and Google (GOOG) is afraid it’ll be left behind. After revealing the next to useless $300 Nexus Q last year and then quietly scrapping it, Google is reportedly “actively working with other companies” to build an open standard alternative to Apple’s (AAPL) AirPlay streaming protocol, according to GigaOm. More →
Apple’s (AAPL) wireless AirPlay technology beats Bluetooth for two reasons. First, it can stream audio in uncompressed CD-quality. And second, unlike Bluetooth speakers that only work within 30 feet of a paired device, AirPlay speakers work over Wi-Fi, so distance is not a problem. But what happens when a Wi-Fi network is not available? Libratone’s 10.2-inch tall and 4.8-inch wide (diameter) battery-powered Zipp AirPlay speaker is here to solve the problem. Instead of using a router-based Wi-Fi network, it connects to any iOS device, Mac or PC by creating a direct Wi-Fi network using Libratone’s PlayDirect technology. What about sound quality? The Zipp’s 360-degree cylindrical design is supposed to”disperse sound in all directions.” The only kicker is that the Zipp weighs four pounds and costs $399 and additional colored felt-sleeves will cost extra. Look for the Zipp in Apple Stores beginning this October. Libratone’s full press release follows below.More →
Apple (AAPL) is rumored to be readying a new “AirPlay Direct” feature similar to the Wi-Fi Direct standard that will enhance its music streaming services, according to a report from The Telegraph. AirPlay currently requires special accessories and a Wi-Fi network to be used, however the new version will only require speakers and an iPhone, iPod or iPad, which will support a direct connection for music playback. Apple is rumored to announce the updated feature alongside its new iPhone at a press event on September 12th. More →
Not long ago we published a story about Raspberry Pi, a $35 Linux-based single board computer that is still in development. Now, a Model B version of the device is being demoed and it shows off the small computer’s AirPlay streaming capabilities. The video shows one of Raspberry Pi’s developers using an iPad to stream a video clip to the Raspberry Pi Model B device using AirPlay without a hitch. The developers behind the tiny and affordable computer have said they hope the gadget will eventually be used in schools, although it’s still unclear when the company will begin shipping devices to consumers. A video of Model B working seamlessly with AirPlay follows after the break. More →
Apple iOS users have long been able to take advantage of the company’s wireless streaming feature, AirPlay, that is built into all iPads, iPhones, and iPod touch devices. Airtight is a new app that just arrived in the Android Market, and it gives Android users the same wireless streaming capacity. The app is available for Google TV boxes running at least Android 3.0, and will allow users to stream content from their iOS devices right to their televisions using AirPlay. While Airtight will allow users to stream photos and videos, full mirroring of a device and DRM-protected media is unsupported in the current version. Airtight’s developers plan to further expand the capabilities of the app and are looking to include music as well as the rest of AirPlay’s functionality in the future. Airtight is available immediately for $0.99 in the Android Market. More →
It’s no secret that we absolutely love Sonos’ music systems, and it’s also no secret that we have a boatload of Apple and Android devices laying around. Just now, Sonos has announced that not only is the company’s Android controller app finally available, but a new system update for its devices will be bringing Apple AirPlay support. Additionally, fans of Sonos will be happy to hear that even though you might be streaming audio from your iOS device to your Sonos system, Sonos still supports party mode — bumping tunes throughout every Sonos zone. The Sonos Android controller is available now from Android Market and the Sonos 3.4 system update is available as well. Press release after the break! More →
It looks as though software developer James Laird has opened Pandora’s box for Apple’s AirPlay music streaming system. Frustrated by the fact that an AirPort Express emulator did not exist, Laird began to look for a solution that would allow him to stream iTunes music without the use of AirPlay. “I was disappointed to find that Apple used a public-key crypto scheme, and there’s a private key hiding inside the ApEx [Airport Extreme],” wrote Laird. “So I took it apart (I still have scars from opening the glued case!), dumped the ROM, and reverse engineered the keys out of it.” Laird has published the private key in an open source software project dubbed ShairPort (clever). The software, which is built in Perl and C, will allow users to stream iTunes content to hardware and software designed to talk to ShairPort. Apple has opened up its AirPlay system to third-parties in recent months, but this blows the doors wide open for all those looking to circumvent that red tape-filled process. More →
Following news that iOS 4.3 beta 1 has been seeded to developers, Apple’s servers are no doubt being hammered by anxious developers looking to explore all the new features. We pinged a few of our dev friends for feedback on new additions they’ve found and here’s what we have so far:
- Personal hotspot capabilities for GSM devices — as we exclusively reported earlier today
- AirPlay support for third-party native apps and third-party Web apps
- Redesigned FaceTime icon
- Multi-touch gesture support for iPad — “This beta release contains a preview of new Multi-Touch gestures for iPad. You can use four or five fingers to pinch to the Home Screen; swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar; and swipe left or right between apps. We are providing this preview before releasing them to the public to understand how these gestures work with your apps.”
- Configurable slide switch for iPad — users can now decide whether the hardware switch above the volume rocker on the iPad controls mute or rotation lock
- iAd full screen banners on the iPad — bigger ads… just what iPad users have been clamoring for
Interestingly, iOS 4.3 appears to also have dropped support for Apple second-generation iPhone — the iPhone 3G — and its second-generation iPod touch. This could make the current build Apple’s final software release for these devices.
UPDATE: Several readers have emailed us to point out that enthusiast blog iSpazio may have uncovered a little gem. References to the following effects have been found in the iOS 4.3 code, and they might be introduced as live video effects for video capture and FaceTime calls:
- Thermal Camera
- Tunnel of Light
Apple on Wednesday released a new build of iOS — version 4.3 beta 1 — that significantly expands AirPlay functionality for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. In current public builds of iOS, only native Apple applications can make use of AirPlay, which allows multimedia content to be streamed wirelessly from iOS devices and Mac computers to compatible hardware. In iOS 4.3 beta 1, developers of third-party native iOS apps and Web app developers can now utilize AirPlay functionality. iOS 4.3 is not expected to become available to the general public until March, giving developers plenty of time to implement AirPlay functionality into their apps.
We knew it wouldn’t be long before a simple solution brought Apple’s AirPlay streaming media functionality to Windows, and today the deed is done. Independent developer Apostolos Georgiadis has assembled a neat little Windows application called AirMediaPlayer that allows Apple’s iOS devices to stream music and video via AirPlay to a Windows PC. The player is compatible with Windows 7, Vista and XP, and requires .NET framework 3.5, Bonjour and Quicktime to operate. Once those installations are taken care of, AirMediaPlayer is free to use and is compatible with any AirPlay-equipped iOS device. Hit the break for a video of AirMedia Player in action, and then hit the read link to download the app. More →
Nothing sets diehard Apple fans’ hearts aflutter quite like an alleged email from Apple CEO Steve Jobs — and if you’re a diehard Apple fan, today is your lucky day. Mac Rumors reports that one of its forum members recently received a reply from Jobs in response to an AirPlay inquiry sent last week. In his email, the Apple fan asked Jobs if his company’s “seriously amazing” new AirPlay feature would ever become available for video in Safari and third-party apps. Jobs’ response, according to the report, was an affirmative: “Yep, hope to add these features to Airplay in 2011.” The authenticity of the email is anything but confirmed, but Jobs is known to reply to the odd email here and there so it’s entirely feasible that this is the real deal. More →
Today, after much speculation, Apple released version 10.1 of its iTunes music and iThing synchronization suite. The relatively small, point-upgrade has been highly-anticipated by some members of the technology community as it brings with it AirPlay and iOS 4.2 compatibility. The official list of improvements is as follows:
• Use AirPlay to instantly and wirelessly stream videos from iTunes to the all-new Apple TV.
• Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.2.
• Provides a number of important stability and performance improvements.
In unison with the iTunes update, Apple also released an updated build of iOS 4.2 for the iPad via its developer portal. There were no release notes included with the new build to indicate what differs from the first 4.2 GM candidate.