AirPlay is Apple’s protocol allowing for the wireless streaming of video, audio and photos along with relevant metadata. It’s incorporated into the current iOS product line; and also within the Apple TV allowing for iOS devices to have their displays (or photos/video) mirrored onto most current televisions.
Reflection, from Squirrels LLC, brings the ability to set up your Mac or PC as a display for any AirPlay capable device.
Once the app is installed (which in trial mode will run for 20 minutes) your computer is ready to receive an AirPlay request from an iOS device. You generate this by double-tapping the Home button, swiping the icon bar to the right then tapping the ‘AirPlay’ icon (which looks like a rectangle with a triangle at its foot). Within a few seconds the screen is mirrored onto your computer.
The quality of the output is impressive: you can play games such as Max Payne; watch movies through LoveFilm and more without losing quality or clarity on your display. If you’ve been looking for a larger means of viewing your iPhone or iPad this is certainly it. You can scale the window within your Mac desktop, or alternatively set it to full-screen.
The quality of the audio is also impressive. Using the speakers on your PC or Mac, everything syncs up correctly with any video. There’s no degradation in quality, and everything sounds just as good as you’d expect.
You can record the screen of the iOS device and save it for later. This involves clicking an icon to ‘Start Recording’, then clicking an icon again to ‘Stop Recording’. The time it takes to prepare the file before writing it to your hard drive depends upon the length of the recording (for comparison it took three minutes to prepare a 30 second file before the app saved it to disc).
Within the Reflection app you can set a password so that only specific iOS devices can connect to your computer; this can be useful if you have multiple iOS devices within the household as it will ensure you only see those devices you wish at any one time.
If you wish you can add a frame to the device on screen; and can customise it to suit the colour of your actual device. You also have the option of removing the frame: this was our preferred option as it allowed our test iPad to sit in the corner of the display without interrupting the other work going on at the workstation.
Reflection is a truly impressive app. The ability to view the display (within a frame that you can adjust the size of easily); as well as any audio, video or photos is most welcome and when you add the ability to record what you see in a native video format it makes for a good combination. We’d like the ability to control the iPad from the Mac desktop, but without jailbreaking it that’s unlikely to happen.