Citing sources familiar with Apple’s plans, a new report is out today claiming that the Cupertino company is looking to launch a new version of its popular AirPlay feature next month, called AirPlay Direct.

What’s the difference? Well, as it stands, the current version of AirPlay requires an active Wi-Fi network. But AirPlay Direct, however, allows for a direct connection to a device, without the need for Wi-Fi…

The Telegraph reports:

“Sources familiar with the iPhone-maker’s plans said that Apple wants to improve the AirPlay wireless music streaming technology, which currently requires AirPlay speakers and a WiFi network. The new version will require just speakers or a hifi and an iDevice; the iPhone, iPod or iPad would form its own network to allow a direct connection and music playback.

The move is expected to be announced at the launch of the new iPhone, which is widely rumoured to take place on September 12.”

The move makes some sense given Apple’s recent efforts to help users cut the cord — last year it introduced Wi-Fi Sync in iOS 5 for connecting wirelessly to iTunes. It’s also interesting considering recent rumors that point to all next-gen iOS devices getting a dock connector makeover.

If true, this would be great news for accessory-makers, who have, up until this point, been somewhat timid of Apple’s AirPlay tech due to its dependency on Wi-Fi. It could also mean big things in the way of AirPlay gaming, which is currently at the mercy of a user’s internet speed and router quality.

But, as this is the first we’ve heard of AirPlay Direct, we’re going to be filing this one away in the rumor folder. It wouldn’t surprise us in the least bit, though, to see Apple update the wireless platform this fall.

  • that would be very awesome!

  • I hate the fact that we need an Apple TV to enable AirPlay.

    • Kok Hean

      AirServer, Reflection.

    • I love my Apple TV… it does everything I want and more!

      • The only thing I hate about my Apple TV is the limited amount of streaming. Roku kills it as far as streaming goes… but the 3 I use the most on my Roku are Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime… but we recently got Hulu on the Apple TV. I doubt Amazon will make it to the Apple TV.

        I prefer the interface of both Netflix and Hulu on the Apple TV and it is far more stable than my Roku. But having the ability to play MKVs off of USB means my Roku won’t be going anywhere anytime soon… but I am definitely using the Apple TV more now that Hulu is on there than I was before.

        AirPlay with Pandora on our iPhones is awesome. I only wonder if AirDirect means buying all new stuff… new phones, new AppleTV etc.

  • Zorvage

    I want subtitles on streaming from my iPhone to my Apple TV 3. Is this possible?

  • deepdvd

    I keep reading “without the need for Wi-Fi…” which doesn’t seem right.
    Wouldn’t it be more likely that it’s just creating an ad-hoc WiFi connection directly to the device? It just seems unlikely that they are using Bluetooth for this.
    “…would form its own network to allow a direct connection and music playback.”

    • Bluetooth 4.0 or Wi-Fi Direct.
      I’m thinking, they probably use bluetooth.

  • Thinker

    Apples AirPlay is much more then just streaming music! You can for example “stream” your iPad display to an ordinary TV – but the iPad and the AppleTV device must be connected to the same WLAN.
    Ok, the iPad 3/the new iPad can create a “personal hotspot” so that the AppleTV device can connect to the iPad instead of connecting both to the same WLAN …
    But I believe it would be a better idea when the AppleTV device would create its own WLAN where any device can connect to …
    That would be a new feature and not such a “hey, you can now stream music”