As programmers continue to pick apart the code underlying Apple’s iPhone 3.0 OS, more details are surfacing that point to possible new hardware features for both the iPhone and iPod Touch. One of the first details
unearthed from the code is the addition of stereo Bluetooth audio streaming–a feature that current (second-generation) iPhone and iPod Touch owners will be able to take advantage of, once the new OS
is available this summer.
Of course, there will be some new features that will only be available on the next generation of the iPod and iPhone hardware (ain’t that always the way?). Case in point: rumors of high speed 802.11n Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as FM radio transmission. The combination of stereo Bluetooth, improved Wi-Fi speeds, and short-range FM transmission, are compelling and competitive features on a phone, but they’ll really put the iPod Touch in a class of its own when it comes to portable media players.
As for Wi-Fi speeds, the current iPhone and iPod touch models support 802.11a networks (5GHz), or 802.11b/g networks (2.4GHz), which are increasingly becoming common on portable devices (Zune, PSP). Apple already includes 802.11n support on their Macbooks and AirPort base stations, so it’s a natural move to add it to the iPhone and Touch. The increase in speed should be noticeable, provided you’re on a Wi-Fi network that supports the 802.11n standard. Those of us are still surfing on common b and g routers will still be getting the same old Wi-Fi speeds, though. In fact, since lots of people are still in the dark about 802.11n and
dual-band routers, I expect there will be an opportunity for Apple to market their latest dual-band Airport Extreme Base Station as a must-have accessory for every iPhone and iPod Touch user.
If the iPodTouch is really to become the mobile gaming platform Apple wants it to be, the boost in Wi-Fi speeds may open up some interesting gaming possibilities. Specifically, online multi-player games may
become more viable, as actions between players would be communicated with less latency.