The inability to wirelessly share documents directly between Macs and iOS devices using Wi-Fi Direct, a feature Samsung’s Galaxy S III and some other devices supports, is one of the top complaints on the minds of folks of all stripes. Yes, it is possible to share files through the iTunes jukebox program.
You can also share files via iTunes wirelessly, provided Wi-Fi iTunes Sync is enabled. On the downside, the feature requires a running copy of the iTunes app on your Mac and the experience leaves a lot to be desired due to a pretty slow and unreliable connection.
Meanwhile, the popular Dropbox service Steve Jobs once dismissed as “a feature” is gaining more traction with each passing day, winning crucial support from the ever growing number of third-party apps. Apple may be stuck in the old ways, but under the surface the company’s been quietly putting the pieces of the file sharing puzzle in place…
For example, Wednesday came talk of chip maker Broadcam working with its Cupertino client on rolling out 802.11ac wireless networking across all new Macs going forward. 802.11ac is the upcoming super-fast wireless technology, also know as the fifth-generation Wi-Fi, or 5G Wi-Fi.
It’s a pretty big deal and just the piece of tech Apple needs to make possible super-fast wireless file sharing between devices. 802.11ac is also crucial for more reliable AirPlay connections and faster Internet access.
Matt Brian, writing for The Next Web:
Sources familiar with Apple’s plans have told The Next Web that Apple has struck a deal with chip maker Broadcom to outfit its new Macs with 802.11ac chips. This will provide a much-needed boost for the standard, which is currently undergoing revisions, as electronics manufacturers look to introduce new consumer products capable of supporting high-speed networks.
Although the rumor-mill thought the iPhone 5 would incorporate Broadcom’s latest chip, the BCM4335, Apple opted for Murata’s 339S0171 Wi-Fi module which enables support for 2.4GHz and 5Ghz bands for faster wireless performance.
Most gadgets use 802.11n connectivity that maxes out at 450Mbps with three antennas in place. The super-fast 802.11ac start at 450Mbps, so theoretically you’re looking at up to 1.3Gbps with three antennas.
Apple in the previous-generation iOS devices used Broadcom’s mobile Wi-Fi chips exclusively, and their desktop counterparts inside Macs.
Announced in June 2012, the BCM4335 is a fifth-generation Wi-Fi package fabbed on the 40nm process. It incorporates WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n with integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS and an FM transceiver and has the “industry’s most advanced idle power consumption performance, which significantly extends a mobile device’s battery life”, according to Broadcom.
Conceivably, this piece of silicon could appear in the upcoming iOS devices because Broadcom is ramping up production in Q1 2013, just in time for this year’s iPads.
Broadcom’s 5G Wi-Fi implementation is said to work three times faster than the current standard, promising a streaming video and data syncing experience with transmissions peaking at a theoretical maximum of about one gigabit per second.
Broadcom’s 5G Wi-Fi implementation also enables wireless coverage for HD-quality video and near instantaneous data synch, which should especially benefit the next iteration of the Apple TV set-top box.
If you have an Apple TV, you surely are aware that a typical home 54Mbps congested network often struggles to keep up with the demands of 1080p video and AirPlay streams.
An Apple TV hardware bump up with 802.11ac should do wonders for stutter-free AirPlay in 1080p and remove the annoying lag when playing games on your big screen telly via AirPlay Mirroring.
But hold your horses, Matt writes, the tech’s not ready for prime time yet:
According to our sources, the WiFi chip isn’t currently available and is still in development. As for availability, we have been told that if work goes according to schedule, they should be part of the new line of Mac computers coming in 2013. There is no word on whether Apple will introduce similar chipsets in the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Time Capsule or other products.
Now, should Broadcom’s 5G Wi-Fi desktop and mobile chips found their way inside 2013 Macs and iOS devices, it’s fairly safe to speculate that iOS 7 might enable speedy and secure file transfers between 2013 iPhones, iPods and Macs, straight by establishing a direct Wi-Fi connection between devices.
One of the ways of accomplishing this: AirDrop, a Wi-Fi ad-hoc service Apple introduced in OS X Lion in 2011. Here’s one of the more exciting concepts of what AirDrop sharing between your Mac and an iPhone.
That’s just a concept vid, so don’t get excite too much.
All I know is that document transfers between Macs and iOS devices (while bypassing iCloud) should be much simpler than the current clunky implementation of iTunes file sharing.
How do you typically transfer files and documents between your iPhone and a computer?