PortalPlayer could make wireless iPods a reality in 2006

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Wireless iPods could begin to emerge in the second half of 2006, offering iPod users yet another reason to upgrade to new models and possibly paving the way for yet another blockbuster Apple holiday quarter.



iPod chipmaker PortalPlayer this week said it will team with wireless solutions provider CRS to deliver Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity with its next-generation system-on-chip scheduled to make its debut in the second half of the year.



The San Jose, Calif.-based PortalPlayer, whose system-on-chip audio controllers have been a fixture in the iPod since its inception, currently supplies Apple with chips for all varieties of the digital music player with the exception of the low-end iPod shuffle.



Through a combination of PortalPlayer's PP5022 applications processor family and CSR's UniFi Wi-Fi chip and BlueCore Bluetooth chip, consumer electronics and digital media player makers such as Apple will be able to produce wire-free audio and media players by year's end.



The chip's Wi-Fi capabilities will allow iPods to wirelessly synchronising content with iTunes, download podcasts directly from the Internet and stream audio or video content from a PC or the Internet. It will also allow access the Internet at public Wi-Fi hotspots or in metro Wi-Fi networks and uncork new purchase opportunities in these public venues.



On the other hand, the added Bluetooth compatibility will enable wireless stereo headset connectivity.



"Adding Wi-Fi means the personal media player is no longer a slave to the PC. Consumers will no longer have to dock their media player to change playlists or add new songs, photos and videos," said Scott Tandy, vice president of marketing from PortalPlayer. "We are excited to continue the expansion of our core technology platforms into new and rapidly growing segments like wirelessly connected personal media players."



PortalPlayer has said its PP5022 system-on-chip utilizes dual 32-bit ARM7 microprocessor cores and extensive firmware to provide scaleable performance and maximize battery life.



Meanwhile, CSR, which also has expertise in delivering an optimum balance between battery life and performance, says its UniFi-1 Portable is the world's smallest single-chip solution for standard 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi. In addition to functioning properly in close proximity to a Bluetooth radio, UniFi will provide multi-mode 802.11a, b or g operation, extremely low power consumption, and built-in antenna diversity processing for extended speed and range.



PortalPlayer and CSR will be showing reference designs and running a Wi-Fi technology demonstration at the 3GSM World Congress 2006 in Barcelona, Spain, which runs from Feb. 13-17.



Apple has traditionally introduced major advancements to its iPod product line in the Fall, usually just a month or so ahead of the holiday shopping rush.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    This wireless iPod can make true the ultimate presentation tool project:



    1. Make your presentation on a Mac or PC using Keynote or PowerPoint.



    2. Save it to the wireless iPod.



    3. Boot Mac OS X from the iPod and use it as a wireless remote control to the wireless videoprojector.



    The halo effect of this presentation tools will be tremendous in the corporte, educational and domestic markets.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Even if the thing can theoretically automatically download from the Internet by itself, I would still expect to see Apple requiring that it be paired with a PC. The current models could theoretically just take files given by any file management program, but Apple doesn't really allow that, they want to force the iTunes software into the equation.
  • Reply 3 of 25
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Figure out a way to CHARGE the iPod wirelessly and I'll be impressed.
  • Reply 4 of 25
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut

    Figure out a way to CHARGE the iPod wirelessly and I'll be impressed.



    That is a good point, it takes a lot longer to charge than it does to sync files, even from an empty unit. I do think there is still value in wireless headphones, headphone cords get in my way too often, but it isn't that necessary for file management.
  • Reply 5 of 25
    WiFI is for airport express and airtunes, that would be very handy.
  • Reply 6 of 25
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut

    Figure out a way to CHARGE the iPod wirelessly and I'll be impressed.



    yeah, just don't get caught between the ipod and the wall outlet.
  • Reply 7 of 25
    mark2005mark2005 Posts: 1,158member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JeffDM

    Even if the thing can theoretically automatically download from the Internet by itself, I would still expect to see Apple requiring that it be paired with a PC. The current models could theoretically just take files given by any file management program, but Apple doesn't really allow that, they want to force the iTunes software into the equation.



    But a version of iTunes would run on the iPod and connect directly to the iTMS. I don't see why a PC would still be needed, except for music backup and CD ripping. And both of those functions could be done in a dock, instead of a PC.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I just don't get the wireless iPod hype/rumors. Maybe I will when I see what they've done.



    * Wireless headphone? That I can see--as long as they don't eat batteries, last just as long on a charge as the iPod itself. Otherwise I'd have to have my wired headphones AND the wireless ones.



    * Internet at hotspots? Sounds cool, if the iPod gains a PDA model, but that seems unlikely.



    * Shopping at iTunes from your iPod with a tiny screen and no keyboard? That makes as little sense as using your phone. A computer is the perfect place to shop, because it has: a) your broadband, b) your keyboard to type searches, c) your mouse to navigate endless lists and options, d) a screen big enough to show a GOOD search interface and lengthy results at a glance, and e) it's the master copy of your music library, where you'd naturally want your music to reside. It's not Apple-like to force an iPod to do something poorly, when they already have a product (iTunes) that does it well.



    * Streaming content you don't own, from the iTunes store, to play on your iPod? Sound neat--makes podcasts more like radio in a way. Doesn't sound that exciting to me, but why not? But I assume you' want to queue up your choices using your computer in advance--for the reasons in the previous point--in which case the usual synch method is almost as good anyway (except that wireless could get you episode TWO etc.).



    * Charging? I don't see wireless charging happening. Charging is the ONLY wire current iPods need--and they'll STILL need it. Meanwhile, your latest purchases synch within seconds as an automatic part of charging, which you never even have to think about.



    PortalPlayer may add this, but I haven't yet heard of anything compelling Apple might use it for.



    And that's OK if, like video, it's a "free extra." Maybe Apple will slide gradually into a really cool area here. I fully admit that just because I don't see the final aim doesn't mean that APPLE doesn't see it
  • Reply 9 of 25
    kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut

    Figure out a way to CHARGE the iPod wirelessly and I'll be impressed.



    Ever heard of Nikola Tesla?
  • Reply 10 of 25
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,035member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut

    Figure out a way to CHARGE the iPod wirelessly and I'll be impressed.



    I've already heard of wireless battery charging surfaces... just can't find a good link offhand. Here's the best I could find with a quick search:



    http://www.t3.co.uk/news/communicati...er_for_mobiles



    They could also go with a solar chargeable battery.
  • Reply 11 of 25
    Quote:

    Originally posted by CosmoNut

    Figure out a way to CHARGE the iPod wirelessly and I'll be impressed.



    No no, impressive would be wireless boot mode!



    I know I'm dreamin..
  • Reply 12 of 25
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rok

    yeah, just don't get caught between the ipod and the wall outlet.



    Magnetic induction kinda "looks" like it's wireless... \
  • Reply 13 of 25
    hobbithobbit Posts: 532member
    This speculation misses the point, I think.



    This chip, as was mentioned before, makes not a lot of sense in an iPod.

    However, it does make a lot of sense in an Apple mobile phone!



    Think about it:

    - Syncs and plays music as any iPod

    - uses WiFi for VoIP a la Skype when within an Apple AirPort base station

    - uses Bluetooth to provide wireless modem functionality for PowerBooks/iBooks



    Makes much more sense that way, doesn't it?
  • Reply 14 of 25
    Wireless iPods.... humm... they'll have to change the image in the tv ads, the silhouette of the dancers wont have those cords any more... it'll be just like any other dancer (silhouette)



    it wont be a fashion statement any more hahaha
  • Reply 15 of 25
    cato988cato988 Posts: 307member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JoeAlamaiz

    Wireless iPods.... humm... they'll have to change the image in the tv ads, the silhouette of the dancers wont have those cords any more... it'll be just like any other dancer (silhouette)



    it wont be a fashion statement any more hahaha




    That is very true. The white headphone cords are a big part of the iPod. I bet deep down, Apple doesnt really want to loose them.
  • Reply 16 of 25
    Why not jedi up some 'motion' charging system. You know... like those watches that wind themselves when you move your body.



    (sudden flash)

    Oh crap.. people watch video on the iPod. Porn. OMG. Imagine... being able to watch porn and use the associated hand jestures to keep it charged.

    (sudden flash back)



    Okay... scratch the 'motion charging'. (shudders) The cost to my peace of mind would be too great.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    gamringamrin Posts: 114member
    You know, combined with the bigscreen iPod video rumor, this rumor becomes very interesting. An iPod that can access the internet and has a screen large enough to allow folks to do very simple PDA-like tasks could take up additional roles traditionally held by PDAs, cell phones, or even handheld game systems. Do I see that happening? Not really. But I'd sure buy one.
  • Reply 18 of 25
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Cato988

    That is very true. The white headphone cords are a big part of the iPod. I bet deep down, Apple doesnt really want to loose them.



    I don't think they are smart to wear anyway, all it says to people is "mug me!". I always switched out to headphones anyway, although it is because I can't use earbuds more than anything else.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    ishawnishawn Posts: 364member
    Free energy iPods. Awesome.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    According to macuser.co.uk there is a second partnership. (More interesting linked to 3G telecoms)





    Quote: Macuser.co.uk



    The second, with Icera, will enable the development of a personal media player with an integrated HSDPA modem (high-speed downlink packet access, a variant of the 3G mobile standard) to deliver an always-on Net connection for browsing and fast download of music and video files, at up to up to 7.2Mbps.



    'The advent of cellular broadband, as HSDPA is launched in 3G and GSM networks, is set to revolutionise the mobile industry, driving new classes of mobile devices and services," said Nigel Toon, VP of marketing at Icera. 'Integrating Icera's wireless soft modem and PortalPlayer's core media-player technology will help bring to market compelling new products that are very low power and have high-speed, always-on connectivity.'



    Rumours of a wireless-enabled iPod have circulated ever since Apple's iPod division advertised for two hardware engineers with experience in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but the main stumbling block has been thought to be the technology's high power requirements. Both CSR and Icera claim low power consumption for their hardware.
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