In our report on Apple TV 6.1 update, we mentioned the new ability to scan for AirPlay devices via Bluetooth, in addition to the normal searching over WiFi. At that time, we couldn’t attach much significance to it, as it only helps to find devices and not to conduct AirPlay Mirroring via Bluetooth. But as more expert eyes are falling on it, this feature is turning out to be a blessing for educational institutions.
Apple generally uses a piece of software called Bonjour to find iOS and Mac devices in the local network. But many times, the firewall of the router or your computer perceives it as a malware and blocks it, causing problems in detecting devices. This was being reported regularly by many schools and offices, where Apple TV is replacing the conventional projectors as visual aids. So the discoverability via Bluetooth helps the not-so-tech-savvy teachers and students to avoid connection problems, just by turning their Bluetooth on and without having to mess with device or network settings.
According to the Derik Okihara who first reported it, the feature only works between Bluetooth 4.0 devices running iOS 7.1 and Apple TV running 6.1. “I tried a Mac with 10.9.2 and it didn’t see the AppleTV as an AirPlay source over bluetooth. That may be coming in a future update.”, he says.
Here is a list of iOS devices that Support Bluetooth 4.0:
iPod Touch 5th Gen
iPad 3rd Gen
iPad 4th Gen
iPad Mini 1st Gen
iPad Mini 2nd Gen
AppleTV 3rd Gen
AppleTV 3rd Gen Rev A
This is not Apple’s first move to promote Apple TV in schools. Last week, they added Apple TV to its Apple Loyalty Program whereby bulk purchases by educational centers can avail significant discounts. Also Apple introduced an easy sign up process for under-13-year-olds on iTunes. They won’t be able to make purchases or change user settings but use Apple devices with their own Apple ID.
In short, Apple is vigorously working to bring Apple TV to the forefront as a main-stream device, not only in the living room but also to schools and offices. This is the same strategy adopted by them for iPhones, iPads and Macs too and Apple is surely finding it hard to wipe the stamp “Hobby device“, which they themselves inadvertently conferred at Apple TV. Hopefully the Apple TV 4 will help.