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AirPlay Is So Mysterious

On Wednesday’s iPod keynote, Steve gave a very brief preview of a new feature coming to the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad when three merge together with iOS 4.2 in November.  Previously restricted to streaming music, Apple renamed AirTunes to AirPlay with the added ability to stream videos and photos in addition to music.  Watching a movie on your iPhone, you can push it to the new Apple TV with relative ease at a moments notice.

Can’t we extend AirPlay even further?  I’m curious as to whether you’ll be able to push any video to the Apple TV.  For those “you gotta see this” momentsairplay as you come across a funny video on the web, will the Apple TV allow us to push those videos to the big screen or will AirPlay be limited to the Movies app for video?  It’d be pretty killer to be browsing YouTube on your iPad and throw it onto the television, needing only to change the input source.

I wonder if AirPlay will work normally in the background.  If you throw a movie from your iPad to the Apple TV, can we still switch apps and browse the web while the video continues?  If not, that’s a pretty big road bump to overcome.  Essentially your device would be rendered useless until you’ve finished your AirPlay session.  Please, God, don’t let this be the case.  Please?

Will AirPlay work in reverse?  Lets say you start a rented TV show on your Apple TV and instead want to push that show to your iPad as you lay in bed to finish it off.  Will we somehow be able to pull the video from the Apple TV to an iPhone or iPad?  The software update preview page on the iPad has one sentence that only references the technique Jobs used on stage but the reverse would certainly be a welcome addition.

Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t given much detail into which apps will support AirPlay.  Until November arrives, it’ll likely stay that way.  I can’t be the only one that found AirPlay to be one of the more interesting tidbits from this week’s keynote.  If you’ve got questions of your own, drop ‘em in the comments below.