Update: The app I talk about below is as good as ever, in fact better thanks to recent updates – but its name has changed. It is now called Reflector and you can find it here: http://reflectorapp.com/
That’s the one word message I sent to a friend last night when I first got a look at Reflection for the Mac last night. Reflection does one thing – just one little thing that I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for. It brings AirPlay Mirroring to the Mac.
With this long-awaited app you can mirror your iPad 2 (or iPhone 4S) screen to any Mac running OS X 10.6 or later, wirelessly.
For anyone who doesn’t have an Apple TV this provides a great way to watch movies, TV shows, or videos from your iPad 2 on a bigger screen. For me, there’s that and also there’s a great opportunity for doing screencasts and demos as part of reviews. I’m going to be experimenting with that very soon.
Reflection couldn’t be simpler to use. There’s no setup required – you just install the app and then double-tap the home button on the iPad 2 and tap the AirPlay button just next to the volume button in the Multitasking Bar, just as always with AirPlay Mirroring. You’ll now see an additional item in the list of devices – your Mac where you’ve installed Reflection. Just tap on that and the iPad 2 screen will almost instantly be mirrored to your Mac.
There are a few preferences settings for Reflection (things like whether to launch it full screen as soon as the iPad 2 connects) but you can ignore them and it still just works right out of the box.
So far Reflection looks very good, but also a little flaky – a little bit like the 1.0 release that it is. It has bombed out and lost connection at times, though not very often. It doesn’t handle iPad games well at all right now, at least based on my very quick tries thus far. I tried Real Racing 2 and DOOM. With both the iPad screen shown by Reflection on the Mac got much smaller and more square as soon as the games were launched. Real Racing 2 froze a lot and was never usable. DOOM was shown upside down and didn’t look as if it was ever going to be usable either.
Hopefully the app will be updated soon to increase stability and perhaps improve its handling of games. In the meantime, this app is still a sight for sore eyes and good enough to use. I’m still a little amazed that Apple has not made AirPlay Mirroring to the Mac possible themselves. Maybe we’ll see that announced at the iPad 3 launch event. Or maybe later in the year at WWDC.
Until then, Reflection brings a long-awaited feature to the Mac and to AirPlay Mirroring on the iPad. Bravo to its developers.
You can see more info on Reflection, get a limited time trial, or buy the app for $14.99 at its web page here: http://www.reflectionapp.com/
Thanks to Erica Sadun at TUAW for the heads-up on this app last night.