AirTunes was originally released on June 7, 2004
The enhancements to the AirTunes technology and the subsequent name change to AirPlay were announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the iPod event on September 1, 2010, and explained thus:
“Now, what is AirPlay? You know what AirTunes is… listen to music from all over your house from your mobile device”, said Jobs. “We’re changing the name of AirTunes to AirPlay, and it’s not just music anymore. You can stream all kinds of media anywhere in your house.”
You can count this as a 10 year market entry, 3 year market push, sudden industry adoption, or simply hard work. In the mean time, Sonos and a host of other companies made inroads into this marketplace with good products. They key takeaway here? Nothing is “easy” and nothing is instant with innovations. What many call simple and obvious developments always have an adoption curve.
Apple has always suffered from the open vs. closed licensing model. While this battle still rages on, Apple has been clever in using some technology to it’s advantage, or more importantly, removing technology. CD/DVD drives, SD cards, Removable batteries are just a few of the technologies Apple decided to abandon, and the list goes on. Where they struggle is magnetic power connector, lightning ports, unique cables, and special protocols they do primary development on and push into partners chip designs etc. One could hope that Apple could pick and choose better which innovations to release without huge fees. If they could better strike that balance, I see innovations like Airplay will be more common for the good of both Apple and the general consumer.