Feeds

Apple's AirPlay: Bring the walled garden home

Double standards

The essential guide to IT transformation

Another Wall

Having led the market years ago with such a fine implementation, technically elegant and easy to use, Apple has opted to treat streaming as another part of a walled garden. Today you can add a UPnP server to your Mac via third-party software, point the software at your iTunes music collection or iPhoto library, and enjoy your media wirelessly on devices around the house. There are several options available - I've found the Mac version of PacketVideo's Twonky to be the most consistently reliable. But why, you wonder, should you need to?

"Apple's choice to perpetuate their walled garden I feel is a setback to market adoption of what's possible with networked entertainment systems," fretted one member of the Computeraudiophile board last week. "AirPlay is less about freeing your music and video and more about a controlled expansion of the iTunes ecosystem," noted one blog. Apple's TV box is another part of the picture, and it's basically a DRM system - like the old hardware dongles that came with expensive software in the 1980s - attached to your home network.

Some might argue that once Apple decided to bet on HD video delivery, it had no choice but to create a locked-down walled garden. This argument doesn't wash. Just because the rental movies and TV shows are locked down, there's no reason your music should be, too. DRM was removed from music catalogs including the iTunes Store a couple of years ago.

The most charitable view of the walled garden I can find is that DLNA-certified equipment still doesn't interoperate reliably, so Apple is guaranteeing a "quality of experience" for its users - provided they buy the end-to-end Apple certified kit. When DLNA reaches a certain level of maturity, Apple will generously drop the walled garden approach.

But you can argue reductio ad absurdium, that if Apple cares so much, it may as well put third-party mouse, keyboard, scanner and printer manufacturers on a similarly short leash, with proprietary protocols licensed to each one. Just to guarantee that quality of experience, you know?

The walled garden adds needless confusion to the market place. The problem is that a PS3 or Xbox console are already established in many family households, which overnight become rather more Apple-phobic than they need be. Apple should be able to win in a market it doesn't control: it already makes the nicest computers and mobile playback devices.

But unless Apple and the other industry leaders can agree to play nice, it's less likely that computers will "discover each other and just share stuff", as Steve promised eight years ago. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.