At WWDC Apple announced an improved AirPlay in iOS5. I have broken this out for a separate post because it has gotten little attention from the mainstream press and has huge near and long term implications. The key new feature to focus on is AirPlay mirroring. In the near term this is all about corporate penetration. Mirroring works on the iPad 2 and allows you to display the screen on a separate device; for example a TV with Apple TV attached. This is another step towards using the iPad as a presentation device. All that is needed is a wireless receiver that can be hooked to the projectors now standard in corporate meeting rooms. That would allow cordless mobility using the iPad as a small, easy to hold, presentation device. There is a lot of near term potential here. This is about way more than a few extra iPad sales. Apple has always been viewed as a consumer company. The iPad is changing that and the result is big. RIM had the iPhone locked out of the corporate market. Recent security improvements on the iPhone together with the iPad being adopted in the corporate market has changed that. The result is that RINM is losing its hold on the corporate world. Driving the iPad deeper into the corporate world will extend this and prevent the Playbook from getting traction. The iPad has the potential to be the de facto corporate presentation device. Apple just needs to listen to me and make the wireless battery powered AirPlay display adapter. Throw in transparent collaborative syncing of files and corporate presentations just got a lot easier and slicker.
In the long term AirPlay mirroring takes on even greater importance in an entirely different way. First, you have to move AirPlay mirroring to the phone. Then add in a data link over Bluetooth. What you now have is the ability to merge the phone completely into the automobile. This will take a lot of work to be done in a way that is clean and aids rather than distracts the driver. As a simple example, however, imagine playing movies stored on your phone on a display in the car. Another example would be using the GPS and navigation software in your phone to display a map and directions on the display in your car along with voice guidance through the car’s audio system. Commands would be given through controls on the steering wheel and voice commands. This is a small but important step towards making the phone the dominant computing platform by a wide margin.