Not what you would normally think of in connection with Apple TV, but it’s true – as I found out Memorial Day weekend.

I went down to spend the weekend in Charlottesville, VA, with my friend Dr. Joe Stirt – the proprietor, editor, researcher and factotem of that wonderful blog BookofJoe.  (A must-read blog, by the way.)  While there, we spent some time experimenting with the latest version of Apple TV on Joe’s 50″ television.

If you don’t know, Apple TV enables AirPlay on the iPad and iPhone 4s.  This allows you to mirror the screen of these devices on your television.  In practice, this means that you can take the screen of your iPhone/iPad and blow it up to fill a 50 inch screen.  The amazing thing is that the iPhone scales up excellently.  No blurries, jaggies or visual artifacts.  The view on the TV is almost as good as that on the iPhone’s screen.  Both portrait and landscape modes display perfectly.

Here are some, rather bad, I’m afraid, photos of Joe’s iPhone 4s connecting to the TV and displaying the NY Times from his Apple Bookshelf:

Photo copy 2


Photo copy


For scale, note Grey Cat sleeping on the bottom left of the pictures.  She declined an interview.

Everything worked just as well when we tried it with our iPads.  The display is quick with no apparent delay when scrolling or opening new pages.

As Joe is a doctor he expressed amazement that nobody, including Apple, has seemingly touted this technology to the visually handicapped.  Imagine setting a large font on your iPhone/iPad and then reading it on a 50 inch screen.  This could be a huge benefit.

He also pointed out how important this could be to a handicapped person.  People who only had the use of one hand might have trouble managing a book or even an ereader.  However, you can easily scroll and manipulate stuff on your iPhone with one hand – it was designed that way.  Not only those with a handicap, but others, such as those recovering from surgery, could find this extremely useful.

To be honest, I think we’ve discovered something here and it would be great if our readers could get the word out to those organizations who deal with such things.


  1. OK, I found it:
    Normally, Airplay only works in video apps, but you can also set it to Mirroring:
    while in an app, you double-click the home button, and swipe to the right, twice, and you’ll get a volume control, and a button for Airplay! Just switch the mirroring On. That enables mirroring.

  2. This is really useful for disabled people: I’ve forwarded the article to a friend who runs an excellent site on how Apple software and tech can help those of us with disabilities.

    I can also see this being helpful simply for elderly people, and for sharing info with meeting groups.

  3. As an technican working at an center for sight impaired in one county in Sweden, I have rekommend some clients with iPad or iPhone to test it out. Sometimes Even rekommended to try The iPad itself as an portable cctv, since it got quite an better camera in version 3 and 4

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail