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Saturday, April 14, 2007 

Apple's iPod may gain Wi-Fi by holidays

AppleInsider is reporting that the iPod is gaining WiFi support by this holiday season. This will finally turn the iPod into a connected device, something I predicted for 2006 and then when it did not happen for 2007.

The question is what kind of functionality Apple is planning to offer based on this new capability. In my original post about this topic (back in January of 2006) I tried to discuss different scenarios WiFi may enable. It will be interesting to see how far Apple takes it.

Most importantly, this new capability turns the iPod into a device TVersity needs to support and it also makes Bonjour a protocol we need to add, side by side with UPnP. Bonjour, for those that do not know, is Apple's take on device interoperability over home networks. It is an alternative to UPnP, and like UPnP A/V Bonjour has DAAP for audio and video services. iTunes, Apple TV and most likely the iPod will implement this protocol, hence it will become more important than UPnP A/V over night.

While Apple is trying to promote Bonjour and get others to adopt it (this is probably the main reason behind their recent decision to open source it), they are not trying to do the same with the audio and video services that they have implemented on top of Bonjour and for that reason UPnP still has a role to play.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the battle between the closed system approach championed by Apple and the open ecosystem approach championed by Microsoft goes to the next level and is about to span every facet of our connected lifestyle. Make no mistake, the battle for MP3 players was merely round I. The introduction of the Apple TV, WiFi for the iPod and the iPhone indicate that Apple is aiming to displace both Microsoft and Intel and become the most important company in tech by leading all the major product categories of tomorrow.

More about my gloomy predictions about Apple and their attempt to take over the world, is available in my previous post about the iPhone Effect.