AirPlay can be a great way to get media off your iPhone and onto other devices, but what if you were interested in going the other way, in using your iPhone to receive an AirPlay stream? While there have been apps available to provide this functionality, Apple has recently started cracking-down on them for violating its rules for inclusion in the App Store; just what’s going on, and why is Apple so upset?
The problem has to with how developers bring this functionality to their apps. Apple doesn’t provide an AirPlay API that readily lets software receive the stream, only send it. To get around that, some crafty devs have been taking a long, hard look at the protocol and come up with ways to receive the stream while still only using what they claim are public AirPlay APIs.
Apple has a clear policy on not allowing apps that make use of private APIs, so shouldn’t this kind of thing still be OK? There’s another rule Apple has that says, even when you’re using a public API, you can only do so in a “manner prescribed by Apple”.
A good deal of the controversy over Apple’s actions has to with its motivations. Is the company trying to ensure high software standards by only allowing formally-approved uses of its API calls, or is there just too much money to be made in officially-licensed AirPlay accessories? If it’s the former, why not release an approved means by which to receive AirPlay streams in software?