Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Al Jazeera shoots itself in the foot by releasing new app without AirPlay support; Israel lifts its ban on the iPad

The news network Al Jazeera wants to reach the American market, but so far the cable companies have blacklisted the news service. But, as I have written about a few times, video streaming services like Livestation have been offering Al Jazeera to their users online and via mobile.
Now Al Jazeera has released a whole new app for the iPad, and then left out the most important feature.

Al Jazeera for iPad is a new, free app that offers live streams of Al Jazeera English, as well as news feeds from the news service's website. The app can be used in both landscape and portrait, but the high quality of the video stream is the real winner here.

But why, oh, why didn't Al Jazeera make this AirPlay-enabled? I was so amazed that the company did not include this that I tested it over and over because I could not believe what I was seeing.

A tap of the screen pulls up the video controls. The AirPlay button, which is a default control, shows the iPad, my Airport Express and my Apple TV. All video can stream audio directly to the Apple TV, but video content needs to be enabled in order to stream. But Al Jazeera released this app without this feature.

So now Al Jazeera has blacklisted Al Jazeera. This is truly a crazy world.

Al Jazeera's website reports that the Israelis are no longer banning the iPad from entering Israel. This has been a weird story to follow, but apparently people were begin given the choice between shipping their iPads back stateside, or else having them confiscated upon entering the country.

The reason given by the authorities had something to do with WiFi, though it was a silly, stupid excuse. The real reason most likely was that the son of Israeli president Shimon Perez is Chemi Peres, who happens to be the president of iDigital, the only Apple distributor in Israel.

Well, according to Al Jazeera, the ban has been lifted and vistors to Israel won't have to worry about bringing in their tablets anymore.