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Mountain Lion AirPlay Mirroring: Not So Fast There, Older Macs!

Posted in Apple, Mac, News, OS X on 03/07/2012 by Chris Hauk

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Unless you have a mid-2011 or newer iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Air, or early-2011 or newer MacBook Pro, you may not be able to enjoy AirPlay Mirroring with your second generation or newer Apple TV when OS X Mountain Lion is released.

Fairer Platform, via MacDailyNews:

Looking forward to broadcasting movies, music and more from your less-than-fresh, though still OS X Mountain Lion compatible, Mac using AirPlay Mirroring? If you don’t have a mid-2011 or newer model, just put that thought out of your mind right now.

Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion specifications and requirements page offers the following requirements for AirPlay Mirroring fans:

Feature-Specific Requirements: AirPlay Mirroring:

Requires a second-generation Apple TV or later. Supports the following Mac models:

• iMac (Mid 2011 or newer)
• Mac mini (Mid 2011 or newer)
• MacBook Air (Mid 2011 or newer)
• MacBook Pro (Early 2011 or newer)

No mention of why AirPlay mirroring will require such late model equipment, but FP has a theory; “My best guess is that these Macs ship with Intel chips containing the latest and greatest version of Intel Insider, which allows streamed DRM encrypted Hollywood content to play — just guessing…”

What’s your opinion, dear reader? Why would Apple require such new equipment to AirPlay Mirror? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.



  • http://twitter.com/andreigherghe Andrei GHERGHE

    Those Macs probably have Intel’s WiDi, which is Intel’s desktop streaming CPU Instruction :)

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  • Richard

    I call it bullshit!

  • Kevin

    Thank god (or your deity of choice) for people smarter than me that will develope a workaround.

  • Greg Roberts

    If this is Apple artificially pushing people to upgrade, then there’d better be a work-around for this. I have a mid-2010 MacBook Pro with a 2.66GHz i7, 8GB memory and a SSD. That is more than enough machine to push AirPlay. 

    What’s funny to me is that Apple wants people to always be updating to the latest hardware, yet they build computers to last. My MBPro will still be running like a mack truck in 3-4 years, yet Apple won’t let it.

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      The issue is that AirPlay mirroring on the Mac uses WiFi Direct, and only Macs with newer wireless chips can handle it.

  • T.Q.

    Rip offs! This is coming from someone who uses Apple everything.. But starting to see things differently now. It’s the same with the iPhones. iPhone 4S can mirror to apple TV, but the iPhone 4 even though highly capable, cannot!

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  • Rob Freitag

    I’ve heard it explained like this, which sounds good to me:

    “AirPlay mirroring works by constantly encoding video of your desktop display then sending it to an AppleTV for decoding. The encoding process, when done without out hardware assist, takes lots of CPU cycles and generates lots of heat. You can see this by using AirParrot or encoding a movie with Handbrake. You’ll hear your CPU fan kick into high-gear within a minute and CPU usage go through the roof.
    Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs (i3, i5 & i7) are built with hardware assist for video encoding. This greatly improves encoding performance, reduces heat, and reduces battery usage. That’s why Apple only enabled AirPlay mirroring for newer Macs, ones with Sandy Bridge or newer.”

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Author

Chris Hauk

MacTrast Senior Editor, and self-described "magnificent bastard," Chris Hauk owns Phoenix Rising Services and writes for everyone's favorite "bad movie" website, Big Bad Drive-In.

His first Apple product was an iPod Classic 5 years ago, and he has since added a MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone, and 2 Apple TVs to his collection.

He lives somewhere in the deep Southern part of America. Yes, he has to pump in both sunshine, and the Internet.

Don't forget to check out Chris' two latest endeavors, as the "Apple Expert" at Answers.com, and his own personal tech blog at chrishauk.com