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The iPad's AirPlay Icon in Music

Depending on the iOS version on your iPad, you may or may not see the AirPlay icon (shown below) in your iPad’s Music app controls. AirPlay lets you wirelessly stream music, photos, and video to AirPlay-enabled devices such as Apple’s AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express Wi-Fi base stations, and Apple TV, as well as third-party AirPlay-enabled devices, including speakers and HDTVs.

The AirPlay technology is baked into every copy of iOS (version 4.2 or higher).

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AirPlay lets you wirelessly stream music, photos, and video to AirPlay-enabled devices such as Apple’s AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express Wi-Fi base stations, and Apple TV, as well as third-party AirPlay-enabled devices, including (but not limited to) speakers and HDTVs.

AirPlay Selector appears only if it detects an AirPlay-enabled device on the same Wi-Fi network. For example, if a user has an Apple TV in his den, he sees the options in this figure when he taps the AirPlay Selector icon:

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Tapping Family Room Apple TV sends whatever is playing on the Music app to the Apple TV in his den. The Apple TV is, in turn, connected to his home theater audio system and HDTV via HDMI and/or optical audio cables.

If you use an Apple TV as your AirPlay-enabled device, you can also stream music, video, and photos from your iPad to your HDTV.

Finally, the iPad offers a cool “video mirroring” option when used with a second-generation Apple TV. To use this new feature, double-tap the Home button and swipe the multitasking bar from left to right to reveal the music controls. Now tap the AirPlay Selector and then Apple TV. Switch on the Mirroring option, and whatever appears on the iPad’s screen also appears on the HDTV screen.

If you have an HDMI-equipped TV and/or a decent sound system and have decent Wi-Fi bandwidth, you’ll love Apple TV and AirPlay.

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