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Hacksugar: Live AirPlay mirroring to Mac from iOS


iOS developer David Stanfill of Napkin Studio has been looking for a better way to demo his iOS apps during online meetings, as well as to record live videos of the UI as the apps run. (We've rigged up various hardware approaches to do this, although none of them reach the highest quality standards.)

Well versed in video compression, protocols, and so forth, Stanfill decided to roll his own AirPlay mirroring client for the Mac. This would allow mirroring-capable iOS devices to push their screen display over to a Mac window (just as they can now to an Apple TV).

It wasn't an easy journey. He had to put in a huge effort getting the technology working, to build his first mirroring prototype.

I got a chance to play with this prototype, and the video that follows demonstrates it in action. It's still early days but the mirroring quality is phenomenal.

So what comes next?

Stanfill has to try to convince Apple to approve his Mac app based on its value to the iOS community in general and the developer community in particular. If that turns out to be a no-go, he'll be looking at distributing it outside the Mac App Store.

If you're interested in following the development of this app, keep watching the Napkin Studio website, or drop him a note at his email.


What platforms are supported in the prototype? iPhone 4S and iPad at the current time.

How far away is this app from public release? That's up to Apple.

Do you have to jailbreak your device to use this utility? Nope. All you need is a Mac and an iOS unit.

Will Apple approve this app? Possibly not.

Is audio transmitted as well as video like on Apple TV? Yes, but you don't hear it yet. David writes, "Audio is transmitted using the regular Airtunes protocol. I'm actually listening for it, but I'm not doing anything with the FairPlay negotiation or stream processing on that end because I didn't want to mess with the PTS/DTS (presentation time/decoding time) synchronization with the video."

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