Feeds

Apple's AirPlay: Bring the walled garden home

Double standards

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.