AirPlay Display coming to the next version of OS X

It looks like the next version of OS X will improve on AirPlay, turning an AppleTV display into a full-on display for the Mac and overcoming some of the severe limitations I’ve experienced and written about previously.

Here’s what Apple says about the new feature, called AirPlay Display:

With AirPlay and Apple TV, your HDTV works as a fully functional display. So while you’re using your TV to present a slideshow or stream a video lecture, you can take notes on your Mac or chat using Messages.

I’ll revisit this issue when the next version of the OS ships, later this fall.

I’m also reasonably excited about iBooks for Mac, as this will bring the iBooks store into closer feature parity with the Kindle store. As it stands, I can read my Kindle books anywhere, but my iBooks are restricted to the iPad and iPhone/iPod touch. The demo looked good, and the big advantage of interactive, high-quality artwork and feature-rich note-taking could potentially tip the balance in favor of iBooks for me.

Planning for AppleTV in the Lab

Ever since I heard that the next version of the Mac OS will feature support for AirPlay, I’ve been working on plans to use it in my teaching lab. Here’s what I have in process in terms of nuts and bolts:

  • a large flat panel monitor mounted in the front corner of the lab
  • an AppleTV connected to the monitor via HDMI cable
  • several Macs and iPads to serve as interfaces to drive the monitor

As of today I’m just waiting on our building support staff to mount the monitor and I’ll be off and experimenting. With four students in the lab for the summer, I’m sure it will get a proper break-in. I hope to convince them to try using it for research and not just streaming shows on Netflix, but we’ll see how that goes.

My plans for it include shooting and editing several short videos on common techniques we use in my lab. I could have these available for streaming on the monitor at the drop of a hat, so if a student asks how to make media or sterilize seeds or run a gel, they can refer to a video clip to refresh their memory. I also plan to have a collection of graphics that I can use for reference during pre-lab discussions. I expect to experiment with how best to store, organize, and stream these reference materials, as I’m not sure yet what will be easiest to use in the moment as well as for students to use on their own. I’m also eager to experiment with using apps live and projected on the big screen, but I’ll wait to discuss those until I’ve had a chance to play with my setup.