Apple Is Stealing Android People With AirPlay

For many Windows devotees, the first experience with an Apple product came in the form of the Windows iPod. For starters, Steve Jobs made sure that the Mac faithful were the first ones to use the iPod, iTunes, and even the iTunes Music Store. In fact, he resisted making them available on Windows at all. Luckily for Apple, cooler heads prevailed, and iPod/iTunes became a little Apple oasis on Microsoft's operating system starting nearly 10 years ago.

Windows still dominates operating system market share worldwide, but the numbers show Macs as gaining ground since then, although they vary quite a bit. Anecdotally, it can be hard to find anyone using Windows in many Wi-Fi cafes. Everywhere you look seem to be Macs. In part, this is because individual users choose Macs more often than large-scale enterprise buyers and IT departments do. Not coincidentally, individual users also buy iPods and iPhones, whereas enterprise departments aren't as involved in those decisions.

For years, the iPod — and now the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV — have functioned as large-scale advertisements for all things Apple. If they can make a music player that great, the thinking goes, why not try their laptops, phones and tablets?

Apple's next target: Android, Google's mobile operating system that grabbed 61 per cent of US smartphone purchases in the first quarter of the year, over Apple's 29 per cent. Google accomplished this in large part by employing the same strategy Microsoft did to compete with Apple back in the day: licensing the operating system to a variety of hardware manufacturers.

This time, Apple has a different weapon, given that Android users have already chosen a different portable: leveraging its massive advantage in connecting smartphones and other entertainment-delivering devices to televisions and stereo systems with its Apple AirPlay technology.

Only some Apple iOS apps support AirPlay natively, but all iOS music apps can actually send audio to Apple TV, AirPort Express, or any number of attractive, compatible speaker systems.

As it turns out, Android apps can also stream to those same AirPlay devices. We were pretty surprised, the first time we found an app capable of bridging the gap from Google's smartphone operating system to Apple's proprietary AirPlay — however, once we did more digging, we put together the Top 7 Android Music Apps for Apple AirPlay, and had plenty of options to choose from.

Every day, for months, the most popular search terms to Evolver.fm have been "airplay android" and "android airplay". This is no coincidence. Android users are gravitating towards Apple AirPlay because Google is dropping the ball when it comes to connecting smartphones to home entertainment devices. And the same way Windows users "switched" to Apple after tasting the forbidden fruit that was the iPod, Android users who get their first taste of Apple via AirPlay could be similarly tempted. If they like what they taste, their next phone could be an iPhone, their next tablet an iPad.

Google's AirPlay problem could get even worse, now that Zapstreak has made an Android/AirPlay SDK (software development kit) to make it much easier for Android app to embrace Apple AirPlay. AirPlay is quickly becoming a standard for wireless audio and video in the home, even on Google's Android OS.

Weirdly, Google doesn't appear to have much of a strategy for dealing with this issue, other than waiting for other companies to try to solve its problem.

After I spoke at a conference in Cannes, France earlier this year, I happened to catch an airport shuttle with two senior Google staffers who are involved with the company's music initiatives. Fighting back the hangover I acquired on the final night of the event, I swiveled around in my seat to mention that, even back then, "android airplay" was the top search term on Evolver.fm, as it continues to be.

Their response, possibly meant in jest: "What is AirPlay?"

If they don't already know, they'll find out soon enough.

Image: Ilona Baha/Shutterstock

Evolver.fm observes, tracks and analyses the music apps scene, with the belief that it's crucial to how humans experience music, and how that experience is evolving.


Comments

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      Plenty of stereo's are coming with airplay and UPNP as standard that don't have bluetooth. UPNP is a terrible way to stream from a mobile device and only really any good from a server or your computer.

      So why wouldn't the users choose airplay? They can play the music from their pocket, and skip songs from that same device wherever they are in the house. Wifi also has better range than bluetooth, I can't walk from one end of my house to the other without a bluetooth audio stream stuttering. If you expect users to just use aux cables, you just don't understand the problem.

      The only real potential competitor to airplay right now would be microsoft smartglass, but that doesn't look like it will launch until windows 8, and will limit you to streaming to microsoft devices like the xbox.

        A proprietary standard, especially one to a litigious company than Apple is not worth signing up for. Despite what this article practically begs, I will not look for AirPlay connectivity over anything.

        And I don't see the problem of setting your phone down on an aux cable. You'd hear it ring anyway and it would conveniently stop the music. If I must go absolutely wireless, class one bluetooth has a theoretical range of 100m and if not, DLNA or an open streaming standard are much preferable.

          No-one cares about if standards are proprietary or open. All (regular) people care about is if their shiny new toy will work with their other shiny new toy. AirPlay provides a nice comforting "yes" to that question.

      haha! ah nerds...the rest of the world doesn't think like you - which is why Apple is making so much money

        Don't laugh at them, apparently they shall inherit the earth after Apple, Google and Microsoft (the tech axis of evil) go to war on each other, nukes and all. Then the nerds shall rise and argue over OS's and standards until a second war breaks out.

    8 years ago I had an iPod cable in my car's head unit... That didn't stop me from buying an iRiver.

    " and iPod/iTunes became a little Apple oasis on Microsoft’s operating system starting nearly 10 years ago."
    iTunes...oasis?! have you used that P.O.S software?.. an oasis it certainly is not.

      itunes under windows is crap. I think it was made crap to encourage more people to move to mac's where itunes works great.
      I refuse to install the itunes oasis on my computer because it turns the rest of my computer into a desert.

    Let me see, On mobile (HTC).. play music through an airplay compatible speaker (Philips).. how is this make me rush out to buy an iPhone exactly?

    How did this garbage get through the common sense sensors, absolute nonsense. People who use Android, generally are there because it's cheaper, non propitiatory and it's NOT Apple. Why would they even care about Airplay?

      I have an Android phone and use Airplay constantly. I can stream anything from my handset or my media server to my airport-equipped boombox or my airplay-compatible AV receiver from anywhere in the house. Why wouldn't you want to do that?

      Oh, that's right. CAUSE OF TEH APPLES.

        You may be the exception rather than the rule. No doubt there are a few who do that, but the majority..?

          I'd hope the majority weren't so fanatical that they wouldn't do it just because Apple had some part in it once.

        I would actually like to know why people choose Android over Apple... Over anything else for that matter. I think price is the biggest driver for the average user (think, don't know for sure). I also think the device then has a bit to do with it (Samsung makes some gorgeous kit and are not alone in the Android area)... I actually think non proprietary and rootable are at the bottom of the queue for the average (AVERAGE) consumer. I would love to have a wider user questionaire asked (going well beyond Gizmodo) to find out just why people buy phones. Why is the tablet space being dominated by Apple (And why is there so much excitement about a(n) MS tablet that is yet to be released). Pieces like this picque my curiosity as it is opinion masquerading as journalism/fact. 'Most searches' is great but how many have yielded a sale? Due to there being only one standard apple wireless transmission format does it make it easier to find/highlight in searches? What concrete statistics are there to backup the anecdotal evidence. Everyone likes to think that the tehcno-giant they have allied themselved with is the best (for their own personal reasons). I don't think that best can be quantified, however, I would like something closer to the mark than sniping matches back and forth from the anecdotal blue corner and the common sense red corner... Not to mention the 'I don't give a f$%k gray corner and the the 'I have tehcnology forced down my throat by work' green (with envy) corner. I use airplay a bit because it is relatively easy and my wife gets it (but who cares... one anecdote among a million). I have mates that swear by Sonos, however, the entry cost can be pretty daunting. I would like to be able to buy things knowing that I will get some life and compatibility out of them ( I now have a barrier between myself and tech purchases that I didn't have as a younger man... So they have to be better justified)... No anecdotes and unsubstantiated statements are going to make that any easier for me... When I see articles like this I want to know how long the tech will last, who is behind it(although not so relevant these days) and whether it will play with my/our other tech. I don't want Google might be in trouble because of this... Zero help other than a touchy feely 'go with your heart' kind of ethos. Stop patronising wiht your stories... start informing.

      For the ones you've stated were drawn to Android for the price, where do you think they'll go if they get a taste of what apple is offering and have more money at upgrade time?

    I own an iPad and iPhone and one of the major draw cards and key factors on my decision was AirPlay. It took a big leap of faith because of my previous experience of iTunes on windows was so bad but I am happy with my purchases

    I don't really see how making airplay available on Android would motivate Android users to buy Apple devices. If anything it makes it easier for current Apple device users to switch to Android.

      They might buy an Apple TV to use with there Android phone, which could be a stepping stone to buy other Apple products. Every person apart from myself are computer illiterate. They all have iPhone and iPad's (only device they can use) and they could not imagine not having their Apple TV and Airplay. It is the simplicity of AirPlay that is appealing. I know this is possible in many other ways especially with internet/wireless TV's but AirPlay is built into the OS, watching a movie, or listening to a tune, hit the AirPlay icon and bang.

      Was meant to say "Every person in my family apart from myself are computer illiterate". Sorry.

    Yeah but Android is getting more people jumping ship from Apple's iPhone because of ther crappy maps substitute.

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