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AirPlay Pulled From Some Apps in Latest iOS 4.2 Beta

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In a development that could result in a major limitation of Apple’s (s aapl) new AirPlay streaming tech, iOS 4.2 Beta 3, just released today, removes the AirPlay option from certain apps. Specifically, blog MacStories has found that it no longer appears in the built-in YouTube (s goog) app.

Visiting YouTube in Safari still presents the AirPlay icon, but that might be a temporary oversight, depending on the reasoning behind the new changes. In earlier betas, AirPlay originally seemed ready to allow any iPad that featured MP4 video to beam said video directly to Apple TV, though only audio was initially supported for testing purposes.

It’s possible that the reason behind AirPlay’s absence in the YouTube app in this beta is just a bug, or Apple is testing a means by which developers could choose to exclude their content from the service if they wish. But there’s also a third, more sinister and more probable explanation.

In an earlier article about the possible future of Apple TV, I speculated that AirPlay might provide a backdoor by which users could get unprotected content secured from less-than-legitimate sources streaming directly to their living room setup. It’s possible that content providers also took note of this possibility, and threatened Apple with legal action or a withdrawal of their media from the iTunes store unless stricter restrictions were put in place surrounding what can and can’t be streamed.

We’ll keep watching to see where this goes, but if Apple is limiting AirPlay access, it could have a serious impact on that feature’s usefulness, and by extension, on the success of the Apple TV.

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15 Responses to “AirPlay Pulled From Some Apps in Latest iOS 4.2 Beta”

  1. I think you missed the obvious. Why would you push YouTube through airplay when you can stream it on aTV already. All your going to do my streaming through another device is increase the chance of having lag in your video. What they are doing is making to someone doesn’t do this then bitch about the quality.

    Also this doesn’t prevent streaming of illegal content. What illegal content do you get from YouTube that is restricted to your phone and not your tv? None. If you want to watch something you got through Iillegally just dump it into iTunes, it’s always been possible

    Time to put the tin hats away.

  2. zach_manchester

    I have an idea why Airplay might have been pulled from this beta (but, I am probably wrong).

    The other day, I went to the Apple TV forum on the Apple support page and asked was it feasible for iPhone 3g/3gs/4 and the new iPod Touch to be able to use the rear facing camera for Facetime and to then Airplay the receiving video therough the Apple TV. Technically, I think this would be possible and would be a “one more thing…” to increase sales of Apple TV.

    My post was pulled by Apple and I was sent an email stating that they do not allow speculation about Apple products on the forum. Fair enough.

    But, I would be seriously surprised if this will not be a feature. I have an iPhone 4 (so I have a front/back camera). My partner has a 3GS and we have an Apple TV – this would allow us to use Facetime, and indeed for many 3G/3GS users. Apple is a company who wants to make money; instead of it going down the route of implementing it into desktop iChat (which would not produce new revenue for Apple) allowing Facetime through Apple TV would secure more sales. But there again, I could be very wrong in my speculation.

  3. Your statement, “AirPlay might provide a backdoor by which users could get unprotected content secured from less-than-legitimate sources streaming directly to their living room setup” is ridiculous. What you mean to say is, “audio and video from sources other than the iTunes store,” so why don’t you just say that? At any rate, you can already do that by dropping the file into iTunes, and then playing it on your Apple TV.

    What’s the difference from playing it from your iPad? Why do you make it sound so sinister? And why would Apple disable it on YouTube when you can stream YouTube video directly on your Apple TV without the need of an iPad. Your assumptions in search of “news” are way out there.

    You start the story by saying AirPlay has been pulled from some apps, when you go on to say it’s only from one app. Why the lie?

  4. Ah, Apple TV, such a strange contraption you are.
    As I’ve said before I don’t even really understand what Apple TV does — except from telling you that you can’t watch anything you havent bought from Apple.
    This AirPlay thing might be the only actual service that Apple TV offers, so they’d better not restrict that one too.
    I’m an Apple fan, but this whole copyright/licensing/authorizing thing is such a pain… It really looks like the future of iDevices will mean more and more strict control of what you watch and what you listen to and where you buy it.

    • @Chriet- That is not true at all. You can stream anything you want from iTunes including things you have not bought from Apple. Likewise, you can watch YouTube and, in the US, subscribe to Netflix and other services. Besides all that, if you have not checked out the wealth of audio and video available for free in the iTunes store – thousand of podcasts, “iTunes U” educational and instructional videos, and incredible free radio stations – then you are missing out on so much. You can watch and/or listen to all of these on your home TV/stereo setup using your Apple TV directly. I love my Apple TV.

      I have premium cable and a DVR I rent from the cable company. The quality sucks. So sometimes I buy the shows from iTunes but I sometimes download via usenet the HD content, throw it in iTunes and then watch it using my Apple TV. The quality is SO much better. Since I already a) pay for premium cable, and b) pay to rent a DVR recorder that lets me record and time-shift the shows, I figure I’ve already paid to watch the shows I download on usenet. I love the quality of the downloaded shows, especially from iTunes, and also love that I don’t have to fast-forward through endless commercials like I must do with the DVR.

      The point is, you can watch content from anywhere you want on your Apple TV. This blogger seems to make huge assumptions and make big deals out of absolutely nothing, and if he feels he needs to relate some false information to get a headline along the way, he does it without regard for honesty or journalistic ethics.

      • @PD, the purpose of this article has nothing to do with the content you stream. The purpose of this article was to discuss how AirPlay was pulled from the latest iOS beta, with the exception of the apps we know about.

        This is not a false headline. You have no idea what this article was about, you have just posted a reply to someones comment about the AppleTV, which in all has a minor impact of this article. I suggest you read the article, not just the comments.

      • @Richard Walsh, I did read the article and included some observations about it in my response to this particular person.

        For one thing, the author of the article claims that AirPlay has been pulled from some apps in the latest update, specifically, YouTube. Well, YouTube is one app, not many. Saying “apps” when you are referring to one specific app is misleading, and false, and I said so.

        For another, he cites one of his other articles stating that in the other article, “I speculated that AirPlay might provide a backdoor by which users could get unprotected content secured from less-than-legitimate sources streaming directly to their living room setup.” Well, what does that mean? That means content downloaded from someplace other than the iTunes store can be played in your living room using an Apple TV, but the author tries to make it sound mysterious and sinister, and somehow an important point. As anyone with an Apple TV and iTunes knows, you can and always have been able to play content other than Apple’s on your TV. Yet, now AirPlay is some sort of sinister “backdoor?” The article’s author brought up Apple TV, not me, and made this ridiculous statement. The person who left the comment came away from this article believing that only content from the iTunes store could play on an Apple TV because of it. I was trying to correct the misinformation. The author created sensationalist misinformation for a headline, and I said so. I stand by it.

  5. anyone who thinks they will be watching hulu, mlb and others through airplay is going to be SERIOUSLY disappointed. anybody who bought an ATV2 EXPECTING such will be a disappointed idiot.