Apple has also worked with Hewlett-Packard to make its AirPrint capabilities available in some HP wireless printers; the company says it's working with other printer makers as well. Additionally, there's already a third-party Mac app that lets the Mac act as if it were an Apple TV; the program allows media to be routed from an iOS device through the Mac to an attached TV and speaker.
Where does iTunes come in? iTunes is the management console for iOS devices, as well as the central backup of its media and apps. Apple's current approach to AirPlay is that you set up an account that all devices use to access the peripherals attached to an Apple TV. You also have a separate iTunes account that ties iOS devices to a specific PC or Mac, to ensure that copy-protected apps are kept only on the devices associated to that account.
Again, Apple could extend that concept to allow iOS devices to associate to multiple iTunes accounts -- one for home and one for work -- so offic and personal resources could be managed and backed up separately. Likewise, it would need to allow multiple simultaneous AirPlay accounts; today, users must manually log out of an account to log into another, and switching is a bit of a pain. Again, this is a logical extension of what Apple is already doing.
Of course, what a reasonably sized business -- and even a family at home -- will want is a central iTunes-like admin tool to manage multiple accounts. As mobile devices increasingly replace PCs, home users will likely have a media-server-style PC or Mac and a bunch of tablets and mobile gadgets. They'll want to be able to manage those units and their content over the network rather than tie them into separate PCs. (Apple TV is a step in that direction.)
In the workplace, that need is even more pronounced. That's why in the BlackBerry world, BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) is so popular -- it is that central tool not only for securing the devices but for provisioning apps. An iOS Server would make a lot of sense as the multiuser iTunes service for security, app management, content backup, and -- a new direction for iTunes -- AirPlay access management. Maybe Apple would develop such a server, its own BES or Microsoft Exchange-like offering. More likely it would provide the APIs to allow third parties that capability, as it did for iOS 4.2 mobile device management and is now doing with AirPlay.
How close can you get today?
Today, iPad- and iPhone-toting workers can't operate so seamlessly with peripherals, but there are probably more capabilities than they and IT realize.
To show presentations, you need an Apple VGA cable to connect to displays and projectors. For video presentations (though not slideshows), you could get an Apple TV for $100 and connect it to an HDMI-based display, such as in a campus theater or large conference room. From there, you'd provide iOS users the account ID and password to air the clip wirelessly.