Apple Bringing Wi-Fi Direct to iPhone in 2010?


Apple has jumped on the Wi-Fi Direct bandwagon, which means we could see the technology introduced into the iPhone and iPod touch as early as 2010. What is it and what does it do? It basically lets devices connect peer-to-peer for data exchange, similar to how Bluetooth currently works. Or, if we understand it right, imagine the Remote app controlling your iTunes or Apple TV, but directly, without the need for shared router in between. Says AppleInsider:

The new Wi-Fi Direct standard is intended for both consumer electronics and enterprise applications. It will include WPA2 security, and management features for enterprise environments. The new technology will use roughly the same power, provide the same data rates, and offer the same range as current Wi-Fi products.

Given the timetable, it might cut things too close for Wi-Fi Direct in a 4th generation iPhone, expected to be announced in mid-June at WWDC 2010, though it might be in time for a 4th generation iPod touch that September. But here's hoping Apple can get it done. Just think of the phat multi-player gaming pipe it would provide... (Or, you know -- pay attention Apple! -- Wi-Fi Direct Sync?!)

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple Bringing Wi-Fi Direct to iPhone in 2010?


I'm thinking they are trying it make the wifi sync as painless for users as possible, that's why they're not bringing it yet.
I don't know if its just my macbook pr what but sometimes it takes really long to sync, even though I sync daily.

It is a great idea to implement, but how about enabling Bluetooth transfer for US who already have bluetooth on out phones. I describe my iPhone as the awesomeness phone that can't sent a photo to a another non-iPhone phone. It can get annoying, not everyone uses email or MMS Apple, give us bluetooth direct file transfer.

so whats the point of this? I can see its use for Device to device connections outside the home but for wireless sync with a laptop or PC its kinda pointless since most homes already have a wireless router of some sort to facilitate the connection.

PDAnet already does an ad-hoc connection with a pc to share Internet, so I doubt any new hardware is needed for this. Of course apple will shaft current iPhone owners and not enable it for the 3gs and claim the hardware isn't compatable.
I would guess Steve Jobs will stand up at some Apple event Next year and boast about how the iPhone now has Bluetooth file transfer, acting like apple just invented it. All the peons will cheer wildly and chug their apple flavored koolaid like they always do (copy and paste anyone?).

Sounds cool but I'm too dumb to get it. So I can use Remote from hundreds of miles away?
Multi player gaming is needed asap. I can't even dominate my buddies at TW golf :(

Bluetooth was originally meant for small data transfers, and wireless headphones for compressed audio, like talk music, and contacts. Actually syncing your iphone could require transferring up to 32 Gb, or 64 for the ipod touch! Bluetooth would get crushed by the media and apps that had to be transferred.
You can already set up your computer as a wifi hub and connect your iphone to your computer, but that's only useful for remote control apps. You can't sync it yet. I think the biggest selling point of this wifi direct standard is wireless syncing, though making remotes work more simply and file transferring will definitely be helpful.

so does this mean it is likely there'll be a 4th gen iphone in 2010? I heard rumors it was likely to skip a year and there not be a new one till the following year...

@gregg Can't recall where it was and could quite possibly have been in comments, didn't pay that much attention to it since I was reading it on the bus via the iphone and didn't bookmark it. At the time figured i'd go by the hope not true method of thinking bout it cause i skipped this years upgrade in favor of next years so didn't want to think much bout it. That others haven't heard the same rumors means it likely was in comments and I'm still safe then I'd think to buy in 2010.

It is possible that only a software update is all that would be required to use Wi-Fi Direct and not new hardware.

Ron Jeremy thinks Adam is a biatch too.
And wifi direct sounds kinda pointless to Ron Jeremy how hard is it to sync thru a cable just pop it in and go you still have to manually open up iTunes on your cumputer is it that much trouble to connect your Usb while ur at it? Other than the gamming side if it Ron Jeremy thinks the only reason some of you would like it is to brag look fellow douche baggers I have wireless syncing but I had to get the next gen iPhone cause jobs says my 3gs' hardware can't cope.

Ummm... You can do this already... granted, you may need a PC... but yeah... My iPhone remote app controls my iTunes with no router in between.
So the real question is, how is this different than setting up an ad hoc network??

If it replaces Bluetooth functionality - and this is not only for iPhones, this is for mice and headsets, headphones, anything Bluetooth can do, but it runs at 802.11n speeds. Bluetooth isn't nearly as fast.
So the new Apple mice and keyboards could use this too. One standard to run everything, rather than two.
And why make Apple force Bluetooth to work before accepting it? It's like cutting your nose off to spite your face. Bluetooth is great, but just because it doesn't yet do everything we want is no reason to hold back progress.

you can already use the Remote app to control your iTunes without a wireless router. go to the airport menu item and select "create network..."

PSP's have always been able to connect to each other without a router for wireless gaming. I don't understand why this somehow new technology.

Excellent site, where did you come up with the info in this blog? I'm happy I found it though, ill be checking back soon to see what other articles you have.