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In-depth review: Apple's third generation 1080p Apple TV and Software Update 5

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Also found under Settings is the configuration for AirPlay. After you activate it (and optionally set an access password), you can wirelessly beam music, videos or photo slideshows from iTunes or an iPod touch, iPhone or iPad by selecting the playback AirPlay button.

It's interesting that Apple only introduced AirPlay over the past year. At last year's introduction of iPad 2, the company was offering dongle cables to allow users to plug their iPad or iPhone into an HDTV via HDMI or VGA. Wireless distribution is a lot more convenient, and Apple's implementation of AirPlay works very well, something its competitors haven't come very close to matching.

You can also use AirPlay Mirroring to send virtually everything on the screen of your iPhone 4S or iPad 2 or newer iPad. Mirroring is accessed by double-clicking the Home button of your mobile device and swiping to the right to bring up playback widget controls.

AirPlay and AirPlay Mirroring are likely to be one of the most attractive features of Apple TV, broadening its appeal beyond living room users who want to play iTunes content to also include educators and business users who want to present what they're doing on a larger screen.

AirPlay Gaming

Another application of AirPlay relates to gaming. Most iOS games "just work" with AirPlay Mirroring (depicted below: "Batman Arkham City Lockdown" for iPad).

However, a variety of titles are making unique use of AirPlay to create interactive games that present one scene on your HDTV while showing a control interface on the iOS device itself. Examples include Firemint's "Real Racing 2 HD" game and Apple's own Keynote.

Apple will also be bringing AirPlay Mirroring to compatible Macs (2011 or newer) with the release of OS X Mountain Lion later this year.

Sports Apps

Apple now gives more prominent attention to third party service apps the company has bundled with Apple TV for some time now. Among these apps are sports scores, game recaps and standing information for Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League.

Click on one of the three sports buttons and you get a listing of options ranging from Today's Games to Standings, Game Recaps, Team information, and options to buy premium video content from iTunes. Pictured below is MLB.

Without signing in, you can still view Standings and Game Highlights videos (pictured below for the NHL) as well as Team games detail for recent and upcoming games (shown below bottom for the Boston Bruins).

Wall Street Journal Live

Apple has also given more prominent attention to Wall Street Journal Live, which presents live news feeds (when available), as well as a library of podcast-style, on demand content supported by advertising.

On page 6 of 7: Photos, Podcasts & video apps