Apple’s current implementation of AirPlay, its media streaming technology, requires a Mac or iOS device to be on the same Wi-Fi network as an AirPlay receiver, which in most scenarios is the Apple TV. While seamless, AirPlay in its current form makes it impossible to use in places where you don’t have access to a local Wi-Fi network.
Feeling your pain, Apple in iOS 8 has implemented zero-configuration peer-to-peer networking between AirPlay devices. This lets you broadcast whatever content from an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to your Apple TV, even if these devices are not on the same local network…
As AppleInsider notes, the new peer-to-peer AirPlay mechanism is slated to launch for everyone when iOS 8 releases for public consumption this Fall.
With the new system, users will be able to discover and stream to a nearby Apple TV without being connected to a network at all.
A presenter could walk into a conference room, for instance, and broadcast to an Apple TV connected to the projector without going through a complex connection process.
It’s quite possible Apple’s solution is based on the same technology used in AirDrop and a new Yosemite feature called Handoff, which makes it dead simple to seamlessly transition between nearby devices to complete various tasks more easily.
AirDrop/Handoff works by discovering nearby devices via Bluetooth before negotiating a secure Wi-Fi Direct connection for direct data transfers between devices.
From Apple’s description on the iOS 8 Enterprise webpage.
With iOS 8, you can wirelessly connect iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to Apple TV without first connecting to the organization’s network.
Which means you can present or share your work even if you’re offline or the organization has a complex network.
Notably, Apple’s description doesn’t mention Macs.
OS X Mavericks sports a robust implementation of AirPlay streaming that includes turning your TV into an extended AirPlay Display so we believe it’s quite possible that improved peer-to-peer AirPlay could appear in one of subsequent Yosemite betas.
At any rate, this feature is bound to be popular with teachers and mobile workers who may not necessarily have access to a corporate network, or in situations when the Apple TV itself is on a separate network.
Are you using AirPlay?
And if so, are you looking forward to peer-to-peer AirPlay in iOS 8?