Since its introduction, AirPlay has remained a nice convenient feature of iOS. Having the ability to “beam” content from your iPad or iPhone to an Apple TV or compatible audio product is certainly not a necessity, but it is very cool. To see how many people actually made use of Apple’s proprietary DLNA technology, NPD Group surveyed a group of around 2,600 tablet and smartphone users during the first quarter of this year. Around 20% of those questioned had heard of AirPlay, or knew what it was. Less than 15% had heard of similar technology from other brands (chiefly Samsung and Microsoft). What’s perhaps a little surprising is that only 3% of them had actually used AirPlay to beam content to their TV.
It’s no surprise to hear that the primary use in most cases is to watch video, with 75% of AirPlay users saying that’s their chief use. Just over 50% have used it for sharing photos, and less than 20% use it for playing video games. Although the numbers look pretty grim, NPD’s John Buffone stated:
“Breaking into the mass-market is often a challenge with a new technology. Currently, several of the screen mirroring applications such as AirPlay and AllShare require specific devices to operate. Bringing screen sharing experiences to a larger consumer base will require simplifying hardware requirements as well as amplifying the value of being able to share content across screens.”
I’ll be interested to see how this technology takes off over the next few years, or whether developers will be disappointed by its adoption so far and don’t bother building it in to apps or games in future.