Will Apple Use Bluetooth to Actually Make AirPlay a Real Thing?

Illustration for article titled Will Apple Use Bluetooth to Actually Make AirPlay a Real Thing?

AirPlay is an awesome, if not 100% bug-less means of beaming music and videos from your Apple devices to speakers and TV. But there are very, very few things for your Apple devices to beam to. Will Bluetooth fix everything?


MacRumors relays the claims of small Japanese Apple blog Macotakara, that the company is getting ready to expand AirPlay outside of your home Wi-Fi network, and into a direct connection over Bluetooth 4.0. That means no more router as middleman, but a straight handshake between iPhone and speaker (or anything else).

On the one hand, it'd be a little strange for Apple to have one word mean different things—sometimes it'd be over Wi-Fi, sometimes over Bluetooth. But one has to assume Apple could squeeze the same fidelity of streaming through Bluetooth 4.0 as it can with AirPlay in its current form, lest we end up with something awful like AirPlay Lite.

On the other hand, there is currently a pathetic dearth of AirPlay products available for us to use. A handful of docks, and the Apple TV—it's great technology, but it hasn't taken off widely. Bluetooth, a familiar tech already embedded in plenty of gadgets, could make the AirPlay smoothie more palatable for manufacturers, and more plentiful for us. That'd be very good.

And then there's gaming—how does a real gaming controller sound paired up with your iPad? It sounds very nice to me, and there's a plethora of Bluetooth-ready controllers ready to roll. [MacRumors]


I haven't had the best success with AirPlay. I bought an AppleTV just so I could maximize the benefits of AirPlay from my iPhone and iPad, but video and mirroring streaming performance is shaky (frequent streaming failures and a typical caching time of 20-30 seconds for a 15s 1080p video clip from the iPhone). I also find that streaming does improve somewhat when I turn off Bluetooth on my iPhone 4S, telling me that there are some unresolved interference issues between Bluetooth and Wifi even on the latest dual-antenna iPhone models.

From online research it seems these issues aren't the case with everyone, but there are plenty of examples like mine discussed online.

I'd like to see Apple expand AirPlay but I'd also like to see them tune it up some.