Apple is planning on introducing a new version of AirPlay that would allow users to stream audio to AirPlay Direct speakers without the requirement of a Wi-Fi network. Citing unnamed sources, The Telegraph reported that Apple will announce the technology, possibly dubbed “AirPlay Direct” at the September 12th media event where the company is widely expected to announce the iPhone 5.
In its current form, AirPlay allows users to stream video, music, and other audio from their Apple devices to an Apple TV or to AirPlay-enabled speakers. This ability requires a local Wi-Fi network, however, something that could change if The Telegraph’s sources know what they’re talking about.
Apple licenses AirPlay to third party speaker and accessory makers, who can then enable their own products to support the technology. This support includes building Wi-Fi into the speakers or a receiver so that the streaming signal can be received over the network.
According to the report, AirPlay Direct speakers would be able to speak directly to iOS devices, though this could be limited to new iOS devices that support the technology. The report also said that Apple hasn’t yet signed off on specific AirPlay Direct products, and as noted above, the name could change.
Lastly, to muddle the situation up a tad bit more, the report said that Apple could be combining the AirPlay improvements with an expected change to the company’s proprietary iPod Dock. The Dock connector is used to connect Apple’s iOS devices and iPods to a computer or to docking speakers, chargers, and other accessories, and Apple is expected to move to a smaller Dock connector with its new iPhone.