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iPhone 5 rumor rollup for the week ending August 31

John Cox | Sept. 3, 2012
As September edged nearer, with all its trembling magical promise, the iOSphere seized on rumors that any sane person would dismiss out of hand, such as the Next iPhone having a new AirPlay version that won't work with Wi-Fi.

Never mind that manufacturers of almost every conceivable kind of product are busily and happily incorporating Wi-Fi chips as fast as possible.

(In a completely unrelated context, Evans also predicted "fresh questions as to the inclusion -- or not -- of NFC support within the new [Apple] smartphone," which becomes important later.)

Brian Patrick Eha, CNN/WPTV Web Team read Evans' blog, and in a story about Apple's prospects in China (posted at ABC15.com), he (or an editor somewhere) bizarrely tacked on to the start of that story a completely unrelated opening about AirPlay Direct: "According to computerworld.com, AirPlay Direct will allow iOS devices to stream audio directly without need of a Wi-Fi network, using Bluetooth."

Over at Examiner.com, Rachel Dillin read the post on ABC15.com, and wrote: "One of the new iPhone features is supposed to be AirPlay Direct, which could help makeup for the lack of NFC. [Attention Jonny Evans!] According to an August 29 report from ABC 15, AirPlay Direct would allow apple's newest smartphone to stream audio without a Wi-Fi connection. The chip uses Bluetooth technology." And, apparently drawing on the rest of the ABC15.com story, Dillin somehow made a China Connection: "The introduction of this new AirPlay Direct may make the iPhone 5 more attractive in overseas markets like China."

Welcome to the iOSphere version of the mystical Christian classic "The Cloud of Unknowing," wherein, instead of seeking God, we are encouraged to seek the iPhone "not through knowledge and intellection (faculty of the human mind), but through intense contemplation, motivated by love, and stripped of all thought."

The original story by Warman essentially claims that Apple is contemplating direct peer to peer AirPlay connections without having to go through a Wi-Fi access point, which is very different from suggesting that Apple is dropping Wi-Fi in favor of Bluetooth, a step that is ludicrous on its face. Apple may simply be looking at adopting for AirPlay the Wi-Fi Alliance's Wi-Fi Direct standard, which was expressly crafted for simple, quick peer to peer connections using the Wi-Fi radios in mobile devices, without having to connect first to an access point. (On a very narrow technical definition, Evans is correct in saying that AirPlay Direct doesn't use a "Wi-Fi Network" because "network" in this context means "connecting to an infrastructure" - an access point.)

Less likely, Apple could be planning to create its own peering protocol. But in either case, the peering of AirPlay compatible devices would depend on Wi-Fi, not ignore it.

AirPlay, with Apple's Bonjour protocol and zero configuration networking, has both promise and challenges for the enterprise. For its potential, see from February 2011 "How AirPlay and iTunes could enable the 'post-PC' office," by InfoWorld's Galen Gruman; for its challenges, see from August 2012 "Petition to 'fix' Apple's Bonjour technology now online." 

 

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