It was a typical Saturday afternoon when I decided to start a music stream over AirPlay from my iPhone to the speakers at home. The beats were pumping and everyone was vibing to the music, until I had to step out for a quick errand. I assumed that the music would keep playing for my family members who were still at home, but to my surprise, the stream stopped as soon as I stepped out of the house. This was a bummer, as the family members who were enjoying the music had to start the stream again and missed out on a few tracks.
This incident made me realize how problematic AirPlay can be, despite being a popular feature among Apple users. For many, Airplay is not working. From poor streaming quality over WiFi to limited device support, there are several issues that need to be addressed. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the shortcomings of AirPlay and explore what Apple can do to improve the technology for a better user experience.
THE LIMITATIONS OF AIRPLAY
AirPlay has been a popular feature among Apple users for years. It allows seamless streaming of audio and video content from an iOS device or a Mac to AirPlay-enabled speakers, TVs, Apple TV, or other compatible devices. But let’s be real, it’s far from perfect. As an avid AirPlay user, I have experienced several issues that have left me disappointed, frustrated, and sometimes downright annoyed.
For instance, poor streaming quality over WiFi can result in dropouts in audio or video when network performance is poor. It’s a common issue that often ruins the streaming experience. Then there’s the problem of limited multi-speaker streaming, where you can only connect up to three speakers which is a major drawback compared to other whole home multi zone systems. Plus, if you’re streaming content over WiFi, you have to stay on the same network as the device you’re streaming from. This means that if you go out or leave the network, the stream stops abruptly, leaving your family members or friends hanging.
And if that wasn’t enough, AirPlay also lacks collaborative media controls, which means that multiple people on the same network can’t control the stream. You might want to pause the music for a second to talk to someone or answer the phone, but if someone else started the AirPlay stream and decides to skip a song or change the volume, you have no choice but to follow along.
Another major limitation of AirPlay is the lack of device support. If you’re an Android user or have other non-Apple hardware platforms, you may be out of luck. It’s a shame because AirPlay is a great technology, but its limited compatibility makes it less appealing for many users.
HOW APPLE COULD IMPROVE AIRPLAY
But it’s not all bad news. There are several things that Apple could do to improve AirPlay and make it a more user-friendly technology.
Firstly, building a cue system across iOS and macOS would be a game-changer. It would allow songs and videos from any streaming app to be added to the queue, making it easier to manage your playlist. Additionally, allowing native streaming from the device receiving the AirPlay stream rather than sending it over WiFi would improve the audio and video quality, resulting in a better streaming experience.
Apple could also allow high-quality streams with native streaming, which would give users more options to customize their audio and a better streaming experience. Proper media control for multiple users on a network would also be a significant improvement, allowing users to have greater control over their streams. A party mode where multiple people can add to a cue would also be a welcome addition, allowing users to collaborate and share their music with friends and family.
In terms of hardware, Apple needs to improve compatibility with more devices. It would be great to see AirPlay-enabled Windows and Android devices and native streaming brought to all AirPlay enabled devices. Finally, a better remote experience on devices similar to Chromecast would be a nice touch, giving users more control and flexibility.
In conclusion, AirPlay is a technology with potential, but there are several areas where it falls short. Apple can make significant improvements by addressing these shortcomings and making AirPlay a more seamless and user-friendly experience for everyone