Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an advanced Wi-Fi Direct capable communications headset. With such a headset you could be at a busy conference or trade show with colleagues, as noted in FIG. 1 below, who are visiting different company product booths at the same time and still be able to communicate with each other cutting out the noise of the crowd. More importantly, you and your colleagues will never have to worry about setting up a wireless network connection or use cellular to be able to communicate with each other. That's the magic that will come with a future Wi-Fi Direct based Apple headset.
Another application for the headset could be communicating with your multiplayer gaming buddies to work out strategies hands free. In a big factory, inside sales people could be in contact with accounting, production or the art room in a snap and more than likely, Apple could make sure that the interface works with Siri so you never have to pull out your iPhone or iPad to hit a contact button. For businesses it's like a mobile intercom system.
Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct is a certification mark for devices supporting a technology that enables Wi-Fi devices to connect directly, making it simple and convenient to do things like print, share, sync and display. Products bearing the Wi-Fi Direct certification mark can connect to one another without joining a traditional home, office or hotspot network. Below is a simple ABC introduction to Wi-Fi Direct beyond communications.
Mobile phones, cameras, printers, PCs, and gaming devices connect to each other directly to transfer content and share applications quickly and easily. Devices can make a one-to-one connection, or a group of several devices can connect simultaneously. Connecting Wi-Fi Direct-certified devices is easy and simple, with the push of a button, tapping two NFC-capable devices together, or entering a PIN. Moreover, all Wi-Fi Direct connections are protected by WPA2, the latest Wi-Fi security technology. With Wi-Fi Direct, you do not need an access point or internet connection – your personal Wi-Fi network goes with you wherever you go.
A set of optional pre-defined services let devices send files, print documents, play media and display screens between and among devices easily, no matter the vendor. The standard enhanced services let users "discover, connect and do" in a single step to perform these common tasks. The new service platform also fosters innovative development opportunities for new applications to take advantage of direct device-to-device connections.
Use Wi-Fi Direct without an Internet Connection
Wi-Fi Direct-certified devices can be used for all kinds of applications - to share content, synch data, socialize, play games, play audio and video, and more - all the things you do with your Wi-Fi devices today, only easier and without worrying about finding an internet connection. Wi-Fi Direct-certified devices can form connections with nearly all the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices you already have. You only need one Wi-Fi Direct device to form a group. Now, Wi-Fi isn't just about accessing the internet - but about connecting all the Wi-Fi devices you and your friends have - anytime, anywhere - to enable your connected life.
Wi-Fi Direct Connections happen Anywhere, Anytime
Wi-Fi Direct device connections can happen anywhere, anytime - even when there is not access to a Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi Direct devices emit a signal to other devices in the area, letting them know a connection can be made. Users can view available devices and request a connection, or may receive an invitation to connect to another device. When two or more Wi-Fi Direct-certified devices connect directly, they form a Wi-Fi Direct Group using Wi-Fi Protected Setup™ and the latest Wi-Fi security.
Apple's patent focuses on Wi-Fi Direct for an communications headset. Apple's patent abstract states that "A wireless communication device establishes voice communication between a supported user and a selected remote device supporting another user via a point-to-point wireless ad hoc network link. The device selects a particular remote device, establishes an ad hoc network link with the selected remote device, and communicates voice communication signals with the selected remote device. Selection can be based upon a user interaction with the device which specifies the particular remote device. The user interaction can include interaction with a graphical representation of the particular remote device presented in a graphical user interface. The user interaction can include an audio command received via an audio interface of the device. The device can include one or more headset devices, including a pair of headset devices which can be switched between providing audio signals to a single user to supporting communication between separate users via an ad hoc network link."
Apple's patent FIGS. 6A/B/C/E noted above illustrate graphical user interface that will be made available on iOS devices for "Point-to-Point Voice Communications." The app will assist in enabling the establishment of voice communication, via a wireless ad hoc network link, with one or more selected devices within your established circle of your friends, colleagues or family.
In Apple's patent FIG. 2 below we're able to see wireless communication devices supporting separate users and enabling voice communication between the separate users via a point-to-point wireless ad hoc network link between the wireless communication devices, according to some embodiments.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 noted above illustrates wireless communication devices which each include one or more wireless communication headset devices and communicate via a point-to-point wireless ad hoc network link between separate wireless communication headset devices; FIG. 5 illustrates a block diagram schematic of a wireless communication device configured to enable voice communication between a supported user and at least one remote user via a point-to-point wireless ad hoc network link.
Apple states that the invention will apply to a wide range of current and future devices such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod, MacBooks, an iMac desktop with a touch-sensitive surface (e.g., a touch screen display and/or a touch pad). In some embodiments, the device is a gaming computer with orientation sensors (e.g., orientation sensors in a gaming controller). In other embodiments, the device is not a portable communications device, but is a camera or could be a device integrated into "an article of clothing," according to Apple. Hmm, think of touching the Star Trek logo, I mean Apple logo on an article of clothing to start your headset communications. Beam me up Scottie.
It will be understood that user interfaces encompass any known connection interfaces without limitation, analog connection interfaces, phone connector interfaces, digital connection interfaces, USB interfaces, mini-USB interfaces, micro-USB interfaces, jack interfaces, I.E.E.E. 1394 interfaces, "Apple Lightning" interfaces, "Thunderbolt" interfaces, etc.
Apple patent application 20160150575 was originally filed in Q4 2014. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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