Google is doing a good job of trying to make Chromecast have a degree of cross-platform appeal that AirPlay can’t offer; today, it’s launching an iOS app for managing the Chromecast device’s settings, and for setting it up in the first place, so that you can more easily use the $35 streaming player if you’re generally an Apple device fan.
The app for iOS devices is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users, and will automatically scan for existing local Chromecast devices, as well as allow you to set up a new one to add to your Wi-Fi network. It also lists compatible apps, which for now include both YouTube and Netflix on iOS, from which to broadcast content.
Google recently got some flack for shutting down a third-party app that allowed users stream anything on a user’s Android smartphone, true AirPlay mirroring style. Google then issued a statement saying the app broke mostly due to the evolving nature of the still-in-development SDK, and not necessarily because of any direct attempt to block its functionality.
The iOS app released today is basically equivalent to the Android version released in mid-August, which means Apple users will likely get support for the device in time with or slightly behind their Google-favouring counterparts. If Google can expand the Chromecast beyond its limited feature set and see it embraced as a fairly universal standard by app-makers, this could be the sleeper media streaming hit of the decade at $35, but that’s still a very big “if”, and many early reviewers seem unconvinced by the gadget’s current limitations.