Apple could sucker-punch Chromecast by adding AirPlay to Roku's sticks and therefore to YOUR TV

It seems Apple wants to play nice with everyone all of a sudden

Roku with AirPlay 2

Apple AirPlay is coming to all or some Roku streaming devices, according to sources familiar with the matter, according to MacRumours. That's not been confirmed by either Apple or Roku  but hey – sources familiar with it say it's happening.

A few years ago, this would have seemed like crazy talk, but today that's no longer the case. The move would, in fact, fit with quite surprising recent announcements that have seen AirPlay and HomeKit coming to LG and Sony tellies, with the same services and Apple's iTunes movie and music store heading to Samsung ones, as announced at CES 2019.

AirPlay 2 support 'is likely to arrive in the form of a Roku OS software update for Roku media players', says MacRumours –  well, I'd love to know how else it'd arrive. On a memory stick? 

In the UK, this would largely be of use to fans of Roku's streaming sticks, boxes and dongles, but Roku's OS is also installed in a lot of TVs including from the likes of Sharp, Hisense and TCL.

The addition of AirPlay would not allow you to buy/rent movies from Apple through your Roku stick or TV. However, it would enable iOS mobile device owners, and iTunes users on PC and Mac, to stream iTunes movies and music. Mac owners would also be able to stream other audio and video content, including YouTube via Apple Screen Mirroring. 

The Roku/Apple (Rapple?) love-in 'may' extend to Apple's Spotify rival, Apple Music – Roku OS already supports Spotify and Amazon Music. The TV is an increasingly popular way of listening to music, as odd as that might seem to older readers.

It's not clear if this deal would also include HomeKit, allowing voice control of the slowly-growing range of smart home devices compatible with Apple's system. Built-in iTunes is currently exclusive to Samsung TVs, as far as I am aware.

All this is significant because a) Apple didn't use to operate like this and b) it puts AirPlay on more affordable devices than Apple TV, giving Apple a way to take on Google's Chromecast in terms of cost. 

Bottom line: a year ago, you largely needed to be locked into the Apple eco-system to make much use of AirPlay, but now, it's starting to get much easier. With Roku on board, it could be on its way to ubiquity.

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."