back to article Apple: You'd want hi-fi streamage from us, not poor-people Wi-Fi audio

Apple is reportedly working with hi-fi manufacturers to stream music over-the-air directly to audio equipment - without the need for Wi-Fi. The Mac maker already licenses its AirPlay protocol, which streams music and video over a network, to the consumer electronics industry. Apple's proprietary stack is a counterpart to the …

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There are at least 3 protocols that I can think off the top of my head that already kind-of do this (ad hoc) but with video as well (WirelessHD, WHDI, WiDi). I know it's not not new for Apple to eschew standards/licensable protocols, but it is always annoying.

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and not one of them suitable for mobile devices..

WiDi is Intel proprietary and requires Centrino, WirelessHD operates in 60 Ghz spectrum, and WHDI needs 3 Gigabit/s radio bandwidth.

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You make a valid point, but then surely Apple could *work with other companies* so something could be suitable for mobile devices. And as other posters mentioned below, I forgot the most obvious one (bluetooth!)

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Profitable though...

Whilst Apple remain so dominantly "flavour of the month", any protocol/interface they offer to the audio/video industry will be eagerly embraced by all and sundry (even if it means buying a licence) simply because of the fear of getting left behind.

I suppose it's a form of feedback. Manufacturers have to support apple protocols because apple devices are so popular, apple devices become more popular because they're so widely supported.

Any alternative offering will have a very hard time of it trying to establish an ecosystem (even if they pay audio/video manufacturers to include it).

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Bluetooth

Why is Apple forever reinventing the wheel? We already have a perfectly good standard for streaming audio wirelessly to speakers; it's called Bluetooth. It can even support MP3 and AAC natively (though few implementations do), so no need to decompress and re-compress the audio and hence no loss of fidelity. Certainly it should be easier to add MP3 support than to invent a whole new proprietary wireless standard.

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Re: Bluetooth

Sure, but then you couldn't patent it, could you?

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FAIL

Re: Bluetooth

I'll think you'll find they've invented nothing, just re-branded bluetooth to confuse the isheep who are so ever keen to fill their coffers...

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Paris Hilton

Re: Bluetooth

Apple already supports Bluetooth audio A2DP including MP3 and AAC. This technology, if true, will be in addition to that.

Bluetooth doesn't have quite the same range or quality that WiFi allows. Neither does it send video.

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Facepalm

Re: Bluetooth

And the Apple Lemmings will faithfully follow each other, and proclaim this is the greatest invention from Apple yet...only it's not...once again.

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Re: Bluetooth

Seems BT support is pretty complete:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3647

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It's not Apple's invention..

.. until it's renamed iTooth.

But AFAIK, Bluetooh has a few toothing teething problems when it comes to transferring actual HiFi. That is, of course, assuming the contents of whatever iThing is playing back is of sufficient quality to notice this..

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FAIL

Re: Bluetooth

BlueTooth isn't good enough for any task it has ever been put forward for, so why would it be great for this one?

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WTF?

Digital to Analog?

"performs the digital-to-analogue conversion and feeds the audio into a stereo amp". The 1980s called, they want their RCA cables back.

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Thumb Up

Re: Digital to Analog?

Yes mate, they have a vinyl cutter at the other end, with a pickup mounted just after the cutting head. seamless...

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Anonymous Coward

erm... bluetooth?

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Paris Hilton

Won't they just...

...modify the existing Airplay spec so that devices x and y don't need to be on the same existing network? It wouldn't take much to have one of the devices create an ad-hoc WiFi network on the fly for other devices to connect to, rather than needing a router to act as a go-between. No new hardware required!

Paris, routing... isn't it obvious?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't they just...

Maybe the article wasn't clear, but that's exactly the idea of this.

Devices establish a new ad-hoc connection among themselves, while maintaining the primary Wifi connection up. No router necessary.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't they just...

"... It wouldn't take much to have one of the devices create an ad-hoc WiFi network on the fly for other devices to connect to, rather than needing a router to act as a go-between. No new hardware required!

Paris, routing... isn't it obvious?"

Yes. Yes it is obvious, that's called "Apple Innovation".

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Gimp

Re: Won't they just...

Amazing how Apple keeps coming out with "obvious" stuff that no one else was doing before. Makes you wonder how obvious they really are.

Maybe other manufacturers should try to do more obvious things. They appear to be stuck doing only overly complicated stuff with complex setup procedures and terrible user experience like the codec nightmares of DNLA. The others are making gadgets that look cool but are as useful as a door stop, like the Nexus Q.

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Stop

Re: Won't they just...

Looks like you now have an answer to a previous question of yours: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1526050

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Re: Won't they just...

Actually I quite like the concept of the Nexus Q, rather than having to stream content to your phone/tablet (assuming you store your content in a cloud) and then stream it onwards to a media player, you just pass the details to the Q and it streams it directly from the cloud using the login permission of your account on the phone (so the Q doesn't have to be logged in). I just don't think they got the implimentation right, or perhaps the timing: Currently how much content do people have in the cloud compared to how much is stored locally? Also this would need to work with multiple cloud sources and not just google play. I won't even mention the price! But I could see something like this being pretty cool in the future.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Won't they just...

"Amazing how Apple keeps coming out with "obvious" stuff that no one else was doing before. Makes you wonder how obvious they really are.

Maybe other manufacturers should try to do more obvious things. They appear to be stuck doing only overly complicated stuff with complex setup procedures and terrible user experience like the codec nightmares of DNLA. The others are making gadgets that look cool but are as useful as a door stop, like the Nexus Q."

Where as Apple make devices with a vile UI/experience, for dummys who shouldn't have the tech if they don't know or are not prepred to learn how to use it. Christ, fannybois kids must be out of control.

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WTF?

Would this infringe Copyright legislation?

If you check out the packaging of a CD, DVD or Blu-ray disc, and indeed often at the start or end of a video rendering from such media or even in the rolling credits of many a TV program, there are quite stark warnings containing "where, how/methods and who" restrictions, infringement categories and penalties that apply if the content is (re-)broadcast, reproduced or copied.

Wouldn't an "...over the air directly..." device enabling "Hi Fi Streamage" and the person(s) using the same fall under the remit of those typical infringement categories and be liable to be penalised?

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Silver badge

Re: Would this infringe Copyright legislation?

Probably not, or a SCART cable would be equally as guilty.

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Happy

Re: Would this infringe Copyright legislation?

Yes, but in the wacky wide world of Copyright legislation, who could tell?

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So, in what way is this better than working to make FLAC over DLNA do the same thing ? (Apart, obviously, from the way in which more cash goes to Apple's coffers). They should call their business model, oh, I dunno, maybe something like "embrace, extend, and extinguish". Bet they could patent it, too.

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Nice idea

But isn't this the problem of DLNA just not working properly, interoperably or indeed, for some, ever?

Is it not a problem of implementers deliberately fragmenting support to try and rope consumers into buying all the same brand kit, and so gifting the opportunity for a monopolist to define a standard instead?

I'm reminded of the infighting Muslim provinces in 13th century Spain, their defences quickly crumbling away under the invasion of barbaric Christian totalitarians.

Manufacturers should support the institution of working standards and fair competition, otherwise they just waste effort denigrating the standards, pissing off the consumer, and create a ripe market, or even a requirement, for a totalitarian to create a proprietary standard that 'just works'.

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Facepalm

"...stream music over-the-air directly to audio equipment - without the need for Wi-Fi."

For a moment there, I thought Apple had patented the modulating of a radio carrier signal with audio information, so that it could cover a wide area of reception from a single transmitting source. (Maybe they will try that.)

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Re: "...stream music over-the-air directly to audio equipment - without the need for Wi-Fi."

Lol, very good. My N900 has an FM transmitter...sadly restricted in range not by technology but by regulations.

It is compatible with more devices than this will ever be.

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Anonymous Coward

Surely...

"Still, it shouldn't be prohibitively expensive for the world's highest-value public company to buy out a trademark. "

Don't you mean use it deliberately and then sue the bejezus out of the existing trademark holder?

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A few more bricks

Come on these garden walls aren't high enough already.

Funny, I can't remember having problems with bandwidth when streaming flac even 24bit.

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Anonymous Coward

".....bypass the decidedly lo-fi sound cards and jittery Wi-Fi connectivity commonplace in most home computer setups"

I've never had an issue ever!

Is this an example of Apple innovation again then?

Using the wifi network works well, but Apple wants more of the fanbois money. You know that there are people drooling out there, under the illusion that Apple can do anything better than you.

Appple's sphincter is large enough to fit themselves and their offspring in, in one go!

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typical apple yet again

Great, so all those cheap network streamers will either not exist in a few years or suddenly have a huge markup on to display this new AirPlay logo. Sigh.

Yet again apple just forcing more confusion on to all non-mac users and ensuring the loyal fanbois will have another item to covet.

Why cant we all just play nice and have open standards being used by the big companies, and oh i dunno, innovation being put forward to new versions of the standard rather than making YET ANOTHER walled garden so i have to explain for the millionth time, "i know you only bought it a week ago, and i know the nice man in curries said it works on open standard protocols (what ever they are) but Apple have decided you and your device are not worthy, so no, it wont work, and no, you have no one to blame but yourself.

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Re: typical apple yet again

In what way does this affect cheap network streamers? This changes nothing, cheap network streamers will continue to exist as they do now. Not everything has to support the latest Airplay, you know.

At least Airplay devices work, unlike similarly priced things like the HTC Media Link DLNA streamer which turned out to be a complete flops.

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Devil

Re: typical apple yet again

What open standards? ALAC is an open standard..... the current 'open' standards for streaming don't work.

Bluetooth is too poor in quality and range, DLNA just don't work very well (i.e. Samsung DLNA doesn't work well with what works for a PS3 Server) and DLNA.

This is them pushing forward to bring sono's style audio/video streaming to the masses...... and let's be honest, you hate Apple so will never buy into it. Hating for hate's sake.... sad sad little person.

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Re: typical apple yet again

@gary 24

I'm not hating for hating sake, i commend apple where they deserve it, and as a sound engineer I commend them for logic (the daw)

However, I stand by my comment that instead of play nice and fix dnla and make it truly cross platform they reinvent the wheel. Just once it would be nice for all big companies, not just apple, to think of all end users. Not just their immediate user base.

I know I know, I'll move along now. You can continue to shout and reduce yourself to attacking a person over a comment on a website. Have a great day btw!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: typical apple yet again

Apple are damned if they do try to innovate, damned if they don't.

Here they are trying to propose a high quality streaming technology that won't go all glitchy due to traffic on your router and people are shooting it down.

Do you want technology companies to create new things or not?

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Re: typical apple yet again

"This is them pushing forward to bring sono's style audio/video streaming to the masses....."

So not really inventing or being innovative then. Sonos already bring high quality streaming to the masses and this idea from Apple appears to be very close to the Sonos solution.

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Re: typical apple yet again

Apple isn't a member of the DNLA consortium, and vested interests have made that standard an unworkable mess. How are Apple supposed to come along and magically fix it?

Apple have a track record of including their IP in public standards where they think that one is required (h264, OpenCL etc) but the rest of the industry has to agree to it also. If DNLA can't muster the will to sort out what they've got then there's fat chance of getting industry-wide approval, so Apple are doing their own thing.

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g e
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IOS + iphone

Both also trademarks of Cisco & Fujitsu IIRC

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IOS + iphone

Wrong, both belonged Cisco - they got the "iPhone" one from Infogear back in 2000 - and Apple got the rights for both from them.

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Devil

I for one can't wait for the inevitable adverts that state that Apple invented this magical, revolutionary new product and that nobody has ever done it before.

(Much like their MP3 player, tablet, video calling, rounded rectangles...)

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Paris Hilton

So who else is streaming audio from a phone via a secondary direct Wifi connection created ad-hoc without losing the main Wifi connection?

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Anonymous Coward

Do you not know how to avoid this?

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The ability to send media data over wifi is built into such exotic and hard to find products as "Windows". Why does it need to be on a secondary wifi connection when you can do multiple things at once with just one anyway?

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Anonymous Coward

A lot of excuses... So nothing else actually does it, right?

As for the usefulness of a secondary ad-hoc channel:

1) No setup: Good news for any non-techie. Most people don't know how to set WPA passwords, especially on devices with no screen or keyboard.

Also great for companies (especially if this does video) since it doesn't care about firewalls, different networks, etc. Have you tried streaming files across corporate networks? It doesn't work. Many companies already have an AppleTV for their projector especially after OSX display mirroring came out, this will make things even easier.

2) No interference from existing Wifi traffic

3) No router necessary.

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Bod

Blind sheep will believe...

... that *their* proprietary wireless is better than streaming FLAC over 'whateverthehellyoulike' open standard wireless connections.

But audio is a funny world where people believe all kinds of crap they're peddled.

"Although the newspaper suggests this will be called Airplay Direct, this seems highly unlikely because it is already a registered trademark"

Won't stop Apple. They just need to get a patent on it and they'll sue the trademark holder. They've probably got a generic blanket trademark already they can dig out to cover it.

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in 5 years time...

...fanbois everywhere will be convinced that Apple invented this.

Just like with MP3 players, tablet computers or thin laptops.

When in fact all they did was made it just a bit shinier and more expensive.

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HD

As long as it lifts the limit of 16/44 present on all Apple streaming devices or protocols then I'm all for it. Oh and sends things fully uncompressed (or doesn't recompress all ready compressed) music. Yes, there are some of us that think hi res music has a future, and that we're not all destined to listen to music through the tinny speaker of our smartphone for eternity.

For those of you about to unleash the usual tirade of blind testing nonsense, forget about it. I'm deaf.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: HD

F**k me, that's pathetic. I suspect Subsonic can do better. And many other methods.

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