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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  2. Kevin Fairhurst
    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?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    erm... bluetooth?

  4. Randy Hudson
    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.

  5. Craig 12
    Thumb Down

    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.

  6. frank ly Silver badge
    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.)

  7. Buzzword

    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.

  8. Ged T
    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?

  9. El Bertle
    Thumb Down

    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.

    1. ForthIsNotDead

      Re: Bluetooth

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

    2. derv
      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...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      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".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Drat

          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.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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.

      2. Comments are attributed to your handle
        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

    6. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      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.

      1. Craig 12

        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!)

    7. Annihilator

      Re: Would this infringe Copyright legislation?

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

      1. spodula
        Happy

        Re: Would this infringe Copyright legislation?

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

    8. crowley

      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'.

    9. ItsNotMe
      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.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        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..

    10. Weeble

      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).

    11. TheMD
      FAIL

      Re: Bluetooth

      Seems BT support is pretty complete:

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

    12. IDoNotThinkSo

      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.

    13. The First Dave Silver badge
      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?

    14. Tom 11
      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...

  10. Mark Wilson

    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.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  12. Oli 1
    FAIL

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      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.

    2. Gary 24
      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.

      1. Oli 1

        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!

        1. Steve Todd

          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.

      2. taxman

        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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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?

  13. g e

    IOS + iphone

    Both also trademarks of Cisco & Fujitsu IIRC

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  14. c2423
    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...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Do you not know how to avoid this?

      2. c2423

        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?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

  15. 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.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  17. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HD

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      It already does.

      Erm what year are you on? Apple's Airplay already supports all that.

      For example the Pioneer NE30 does 192kHz/24-bit audio over Airplay. So does the Marantz NA7004.

      Is that HD enough for you?

      Airplay also supports lossless audio, actually all compressed audio is converted to lossless before sending.

      Don't expect this "Direct" version to be any different.

  18. taxman
    Childcatcher

    I wonder

    how close to the Sonos world this 'new technology' will fly?

    Like others have said, another several layers of bricks added to the garden wall - perhaps to ensure those inside cannot escape for the benefit of us outside in the free world. Another sort of Bedlam hospital perhaps?

    1. Funkstain
      Thumb Up

      Re: I wonder

      This is the interesting question.

      If this allows multiple idevice users to stream multiple audio files to multiple receivers without the need to be on the household wifi, and allows one-button pairing like bluetooth but works over long distances and with high-bitrate files, then I'd say it's flying very close to Sonos indeed.

  19. Craig Vaughton
    Thumb Down

    re: Digital to Analog?

    You've got to do DAC somewhere, less see you feed a digital signal to a pair of speakers.

  20. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    Apple inventing a new wireless protocol

    Because they do so well with Bluetooth, 3G, and the common or non-walled-garden Wifi, don't they? They're the perfect company to invent a new wireless protocol. Hopefully the hifis in question can be updated several times during a year or so until they finally work.

    No I'm not trolling, I've experienced kernel panics related to Bluetooth on Mac OS X, "you're holding it wrong", and Wifi problems on their iMacs/MacBooks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple inventing a new wireless protocol

      Apple product owners require the most support! Speaks volumes.

      That must be the reason its made "fisher price", for their drones.

      Resistance is not futile.

  21. c2423
    Trollface

    On balance I think I'll just wait for the Samsung version to come out.

  22. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Windows

    I'll have you know I rolled back to the previous wifi kext all by myself, thank you very much.

    (Before Time Machine.)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    huh

    who lives in a house big enough to give a shit?

    i cant have a computer AND a stereo AND a cellphone in a room without one of them touching the other anyway.

  24. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    DLNA codec problems

    Problem with DLNA was that Microsoft intended and assumed that everyone would just be using Windows media formats for everything. DLNA takes care of throwing a file at a device, giving the device the file size and (if the server supports the file) it'll tell a little extra info like FPS, resolution, video codec, audio codec, etc. The player can also indicate which codecs and resolutions it supports. But, I'm not sure DLNA actually mandates support for any given codec (and if it does, it's like 10 year old Windows media codecs contemporary with when DLNA came out.) And generally DLNA servers don't transcode either. The PS3 receives firmware updates, and essentially is a general-purpose multi-core CPU, so it is pretty flexible in playback support compared to something like a TV, which'll have a MPEG-2/MPEG-4 decoder chip but probably doesn't have the muscle to decode anything the chip can't handle (noteably, I doubt many can do H.264).

    Anyway... we'll see. I'd guess some of these TVs that have like youtube and facebook and such on them will slap on the proprietary Apple stuff as well. There's lots of plain-jane tvs and radios still for sale that I'm sure won't. And I'm guessing at least Samsung (given Samsung and Apple's spats) may simply tell Apple to piss off and implement actual industry standards, not proprietary Apple stuff. At least I hope so, I don't want to give Apple money for stuff I'll never use.

    1. GotThumbs
      Linux

      Re: DLNA codec problems

      No problems experienced in my DNLA connected network. I've got an LG Smart TV and have been able to stream videos, photos and music from my server for sometime now.

      It's unfortunate that many of the clueless consumers out there will think Apples created a new technology and shell out hundreds of dollars to be the "First sucker"

      There are so many options currently available...that Apple will only be able to market to the ISheep. But since Apple has been able to sell the same products again and again to the same sheep....I guess Apple profits will continue on. Hey, a fool and his money are quickly parted....Apple knows this and feeds on its own IFools.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DLNA codec problems

        THANK YOU

  25. GotThumbs
    FAIL

    PASS. What a joke. Seems Apple also wants to re-invent the wheel and patent that too.

    I just hope manufactures don't start drinking the Cool-Aid. No true Audiophile would take Apples sales pitch. Considering Apple limits the max bitrate in Itunes. I've used DNLA for my movies and music and its is more than meets my needs/requirements. No true Audiophile would take Apples sales pitch. Considering Apple limits the max bitrate in Itunes and online storage limits and charges.

    Anyone who doesn't already have a central home server/storage solution...should be looking into how affordable /flexible it is.

    I have zero use for any Apple products and will never own one.

  26. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    HiFi?

    Let's face it - if Apple made audo equipment with the sound quality of an Edison phonograph cylinder the fanboiz would explain why higher quality was undesirable, even at a tenth of the price.

    1. The Alpha Klutz
      Pint

      Re: HiFi?

      I have heard a real life person, tell me, in person, that he recorded his music to cassette tape as the sound quality was superior to CD, in his opinion. When I inquired why, he said; because it's analogue.

      With the benefit of hindsight I can see that he was just an idiot. He had also explained to me his philosophy of militant veganism, and had promised me that in the US there are vegans who go around beating people up as a form of moral fascism. I felt very sorry for him for believing that, but his delusion would not remiss, and all I could see on his greasy face was a keen optimism to join the imaginary ranks of built vegans, kicking the shit out of women and children eating hamburgers at the bowling alley. Real men.

      Getting out of the nut house felt good, and it took me a while to get my head around his smooth rhetoric, these preachy moral crusader types have an incredible lust for power. They also tend to have a smooth, oily skin, rich in the oils of nature's vegetables.

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