The Failure Of Standards And Why Apple Is Right To Ignore Them
DLNA, Mirrorlink, Miracast. These should be household names, technologies which allow us to easily connect our phones and tablets to media storage, TVs and car audio systems with a minimum of fuss and completely independently of the brand of storage, phone, tablet, computer, TV or car that we purchased.
They are, in short, standards. And they suck.
DLNA is the oldest and, probably the most likely to work without problems. It wasn't always the case and in the early days it was touch and go whether you could get access to media stored on your box, whether it was DLNA-compliant or not.
That's nothing compared to the mess that Miracast has turned out to be. The concept is blindingly simple. A standard for display over Wifi that allows any device to connect to any TV.
Wrong. What you actually get is a bunch of TVs with poorly implemented Miracast capability and a bunch of devices that may or may not support an implementation that will allow you to connect to a particular TV. Chances are that if the brand name on your TV and device are the same they'll work, but even that isn't guaranteed.
Perhaps Miracast will mature, in the same way that DLNA has started to do, but by the time it does we'll no doubt be talking about a new and more exciting way of transferring video content from our devices to our TVs.
Lastly, Mirrorlink. Again, a blindingly simple way (in theory) of connecting your smartphone to your car and taking control of it through the car's interface. Supported by practically nobody. Car makers have shipped close to no cars that support the standard and hardly any phones do so either.
Which has resulted in the rise of Apple and Google's in-car systems, which most car makers are going to have to integrate into their cars simultaneously, because the last thing a salesman wants to hear is 'I was going to by your car but it doesn't support my phone, sorry'.
Mirrorlink is basically dead. I'm not even sure it was ever alive. When I hear of companies like Porsche complaining about the data that Google wants to access in its car implementation, the only sound I hear is that of a stable door slamming when the horse is halfway down the road.
Is it any wonder that when Apple delivers proprietary connectivity, whether that be Airplay, Apple TV or Apple Car, customers race to embrace it. After all, if you're going to go proprietary, you might as well go with the company that does it best.