Apple’s iOS continues to grow as a gaming platform with each new product upgrade announced. Apple has now unveiled the iPhone 4S with an improved camera, graphics power (7x that of its predecessor),  and of course Siri Personal Assistant. But what about the casually mentioned feature which will allow the iPhone 4S to connect with an Apple TV? AirPlay Mirroring, previously only available on the iPad 2 is able to wirelessly output video to a display connected to an Apple TV. This allows either 1:1 mirroring between the display of the device and TV, or more interestingly, output of a game’s action to a TV while keeping a separate basic control display on the device.

AirPlay Mirroring may sound familiar to Nintendo‘s upcoming Wii U, which includes a tablet controller. By including AirPlay Mirroring in the new iPhone 4S Apple is definitely putting pressure on Nintendo by challenging their new and innovative – and potentially problematic – controllers. When iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S have launched by October 14th Apple will have millions of AirPlay Mirroring-capable devices and more than a million Apple TVs, far ahead of the unannounced Wii U release date of sometime in 2012.

Several games already make use of AirPlay Mirroring without needing any changes to the software, using the same code as HDMI functionality. Check out the video below in which several games are demonstrated using AirPlay Mirroring as of iOS 5 beta 6 on the iPad 2 including Real Racer HD, Pinball HD and Touchgrind BMX.


Millions of people are expected to purchase the iPhone 4S and there are already millions of iPad 2 owners, so the only remaining piece of the Apple console puzzle is the Apple TV. At a price of $99 AirPlay Mirroring will add to several other uses of the Apple TV, including AirPlay, iTunes streaming and a Netflix interface, so it seems the company is giving consumers more and more reasons to believe in the new venture.

Now that the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and Apple TV are intertwined by AirPlay Mirroring, the competition has significant decisions to make. As more Apple TVs sell, and more developers realize the potential of AirPlay Mirroring, we’re bound to see more and more games developed using this technology. We don’t know what this will mean for the next generation of consoles, but we’re looking forward to it.

What kind of an impact do you think this feature will have on mobile and console games? Do you think Apple will start realizing this potential immediately? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

AirPlay Mirroring is available in iOS 5 for the iPad 2 on October 12th, with the iPhone 4S available in stores on October 14th.

Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Sebenski

tags: Apple, iPad, iPhone, Mobile