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Wireless Networking Apple

New iPod Touch Has an 802.11n Chip 135

Posted by kdawson
from the more-and-more-like-a-little-tablet dept.
eggboard writes "iFixIt has discovered a Broadcom 802.11a/b/g/n chip in the just-announced iPod touch (32 GB and 64 GB) models that uses single-stream 802.11n. Single-stream doesn't get the full power of N, but it boosts speed enough that — along with space-time block encoding, a feature coming soon to Wi-Fi access points with two or more radios — the iPod touch could be an effective networked media server, for streaming and transfer, possibly through the new iTunes Home Sharing feature."
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New iPod Touch Has an 802.11n Chip

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  • Why didn't they tell us earlier? Seems odd to me.

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This would be cool if it had a camera

  • Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

    by commodoresloat (172735) * on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:08PM (#29400173)

    Wireless! More space than a Nomad! I finally have a reason to get an iPod!

  • the iPod touch could be an effective networked media server

    I doubt you could call it effective when it would still be tied down by battery life. That could be remedied by plugging it in, but if you have a computer, it seems it would just make more sense to stream from the computer than the iPod.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I doubt you could call it effective when it would still be tied down by battery life. That could be remedied by plugging it in, but if you have a computer, it seems it would just make more sense to stream from the computer than the iPod.

      Your comment makes sense, until the moment you want to take a movie you own over to a friend's house to watch.

      • Your comment makes sense, except why would you have movies stored on your iPod? Surely you don't try to squint at a 4 inch screen for 90 minutes.. Keep them on an external drive (where space doesn't cost you $25/GB)

        • Re:Server? (Score:5, Informative)

          by ZackSchil (560462) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:55PM (#29400493)

          iPods output to televisions.

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by bemymonkey (1244086)

            Shouldn't that read "iPod docks that cost twice as much as the iPod itself output to televisions"?

            • Re:Server? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by RedK (112790) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @03:29PM (#29400669)
              No because you don't need a dock, just a cable.
              • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

                by bemymonkey (1244086)

                Weird, googling "iPod HDMI Out" didn't lead me to many adapter cables...

                  • So what do I do with those weird looking plugs? :P

                    Do TVs still come with composite inputs? I know all my displays have D-Sub/DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort, so I guess I'd be SOL if I had an iPod...

                    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                      by Anonymous Coward

                      So what do I do with those weird looking plugs?

                      Troll the internet with them?

                • Re:Server? (Score:5, Informative)

                  by RedK (112790) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @03:56PM (#29400861)
                  HDMI is only one way to connect to a TV. How bout you try to get informed before spouting nonsense : http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1454 [apple.com].
                  • HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, it's all the same. No, composite is not an option. No, S-Video isn't an option.

                    • by RedK (112790)
                      What are you blabbering about ? First, the Apple article shows that Component is a valid a connection (and no, Composite and Component aren't the same thing) and even then, S-video, Composite and Component all permit a iPod to hook up to a TV, contradicting your initial statement of even needing a dock.
                    • I'm blabbering about the fact that I'd prefer digital content to stay digital on its way to the digital display instead of going through D/A/D conversion, as well as having to pass through a crappy overpriced (probably badly shielded) iPod=>Component cable in analog form.

                      Or maybe it's the fact that I don't actually know anyone that has a device in their home that accepts component inputs...

                    • by PIBM (588930)

                      The ipod touch right here would support

                      2. 480i/576i.

                      On my nice 1080p TV. I'm so going to downgrade the latest bluray to 480i !

                    • by RedK (112790)

                      Hum, the initial premise was that the iPod could do TV output. You retorted the following :

                      Shouldn't that read "iPod docks that cost twice as much as the iPod itself output to televisions"?

                      I corrected you saying the dock wasn't necessary at all, that just the cable was. Now you're just trying to not be wrong by changing your original message (which is impossible through editing, so you're trying to troll it away).

                    • I have a television that accepts component inputs. Oldish Panasonic Tau CRT television. Has inputs for co-ax, composite and component, no digital. Not everyone gives a shit about digital television, you know.

                    • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

                      (probably badly shielded)

                      And that's when I write you off as an AV-phile. Let me guess, you also raise and seperate all of your cables with little wood blocks to "dampen the vibrations" too.

                    • by ZackSchil (560462)

                      All my TVs do, both the CRTs and LCDs. It's also the cable I bought for the Wii to use it in progressive scan and the video cable that came with the XBox 360.

                    • Nope, I mostly just buy stuff that's priced right and works well... I'm not one of those idiots who buys $300 Monster HDMI cables or anything like that, but when it comes to analog signals (whch I don't actually use for video any more), I'm pretty careful about the cables I use. I've used my share of composite/component/s-video cables (work as a live sound tech part time, and often that includes setting up video of some sort - usually old projectors that have analog inputs and such) that didn't provide all-

                    • Interesting. I was under the impression that most people had moved to digital inputs, and that Component was purely legacy for stuff like old VCRs or older console systems. Again, why would you put a digital signal through DA, run it through a length of cable in analog form (in which it's bound to change in SOME way or other), and then convert it back digital before it's displayed on the (digital) screen?

                      As for the "I don't know anyone with equip. with component inputs" part: Obviously, I was exaggerating a

                    • In case you're still wondering, you're obviously right. An iPod can output a signal to a TV via component cables. For anyone who's still confused: RedK WAS RIGHT.

                      I've long moved on to discussing the component connection, which is a completely different issue... I just find it slightly insulting that a modern device sold with "TV Output" only does component, when every other device is moving on to DisplayPort/HDMI.

                    • >

                      Or maybe it's the fact that I don't actually know anyone that has a device in their home that accepts component inputs...

                      I have two (at least): a DivX capable DVD player and my Archos dock. Never used that feature, don't own an iPod, just sayin'...

                      (But actually, I'm quite impressed by this and wondering if Apple has finally started to regard video as a core feature. Do you still have to convert popular formats like AVI, FLV and WMV to that iPod-specific one?)

                    • I was actually pleasantly surprised as well (even if I find the choice of connection inappropriate and crude)...

                      That second question about formats is quite interesting as well.

                    • by ZackSchil (560462)

                      You do know that component is the Red Green Blue, Red-Audio, White-Audio cable, right? Not the Yellow, Red-Audio, White-Audio.

                      It's basically a VGA connection (in a different color space) without the sync lines. It's analog but it's high-end, high-def, progressive scan-capable analog. Most people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between VGA, HDMI, and Component at 720p.

                    • I'm aware of that :)

                      The problem here is that (forgive me if parts of this are incorrect, as I mostly concern myself with audio) in order to produce a good analog signal (regardless of connection type), you need similarly good DACs.

                      Now consider this: The primary purpose of an iPod is to output audio. The quality of the audio output should, therefore, be top notch... but it isn't quite as good as, say, most Cowon portable devices (obviously it varies from device to device, as well as within the iPod ranks). S

                    • by Gilmoure (18428)

                      Don't forget the Brilliant Pebbles [machinadynamica.com]; they reduce comb filter effects caused by very high sound pressure levels that develop in the corners when music is playing - as much as 3 or 4 times higher than the average sound pressure level in the room!! The Large size Brilliant Pebbles is also effective on tube amp Output Transformers; on top of speaker cabinets; and on armboards of turntables. Other effective locations include on top of Tube Traps; on side walls at the first reflection points; on the wall behind th

              • The cable for component output (which is only 480i) costs 55$. Which would cost about 10$ normally. But since apple uses their own proprietary output it costs a lot more. Yay hating standards to raise prices. BTW mini/micro usb is better in all ways (ubs 2.0) not to mention the plug is like 1/8th the size.
                • by RedK (112790)
                  You do understand you can buy third party solutions for much cheaper right ? The connector might be proprietary but there are tons of 3rd parties that do make devices for iPod with it and Apple doesn't prevent it.
                  • by makomk (752139)

                    For the older, lower-tech iPods yes. The iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as various other current-gen iPods, refuse to enable the video output unless the cable has a lock-out chip that's only available from Apple under strict conditions, including giving Apple a cut. So cheap cables don't actually work with most of the recent iPods.

                • because the 30 pin iPod connector has extra pins for all sorts of things... USB in, power in, power out, audio-in, audio-out, video-out, and some spares for when Apple feels like new features. Yes, they could have 3 standard plugs across the bottom but the dock has been a pretty good socket the last 5 years or so... it's not going anywhere. The adapter lets them make all the iPods the same and pickup whatever standard connectors they feel like blessing the masses with in the adapter, making things cheaper

                  • by dwater (72834)

                    the ipod shuffle didn't have the same connector...don't know about today's line up but even though they had the same connector available when they designed my shuffle, they chose not to ... Probably for size reasons, but still, it does not let them choose it for all ipods because it is too big for some of them.

                  • Considering you have an apple tv and bought connectors you dont need or use you are clearly a true blue apple fan (aka you hate money). But as it is USB 2.0 transfers more power and more data and is much much MUCH more widely used so you could use the cables with other things if you wished. USB 3.0 Is many times faster and transfers even more power.

                    Pretty damn sure there is no reason for breaking standards. Except one of course, and that is to deprive you from your money for no good reason. If you can't s
                    • you clearly don't get that the ipod's adapter outputs the actual audio and video (scrambled) signals that other devices can pick up as "line-level" analog. If you use USB 2.0 then the device you are plugging into has do to all the decoding work. USB is pointless for things like video.... I mean you could use the unit as a fancy flash drive for that purpose (and it does work if you save the file to the data side)

                      Micro USB might be useful for DATA transfer and charging, but iPods can pull more current for qu

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  USB has superior bandwidth, but no guaranteed I/O. Unfortunately, Apple decided to charge royalties for Firewire (which DOES have guaranteed rate I/O in single host/single client-type scenarios) and we ended up with USB instead; 80MHz faster, but dramatically slower and crappier in every real-world scenario.

                  History is full of examples like this. 3DFX basically doomed us to suffer Direct3D when they created GLIDE instead of going with MiniGL from the start, which would have been a vastly better idea in every

              • by makomk (752139)

                Indeed - a cable which "merely" costs a significant proportion of the price you paid for the original iPod. No cheap third-party cables, either - they're having problems bypassing the requirement for an Apple authentication chip before any recent iPod enables its video output.

            • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

              Yeah, I certainly don't see a USB port on my television.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by MadnessASAP (1052274)

            But then it's not a streaming network server is it, it's a portable device with a shitty composite output.

        • by oman_ (147713)

          iPod movies are a great way to pass the time on airplanes, or on layovers in airports. I always take the AV cable when I travel so I can hook it up to the TV when I get to the hotel room.

        • by sam0vi (985269)

          Or use the Ipod as a external drive (which is what i usually do, and i think that's what GP meant), download it to your friend's computer (if he doesn't have one his not your friend). Solved

      • Your comment makes sense til you say that he owns the movies. They're actually being licensed.

  • iLinkIt (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:14PM (#29400233)
    WTF is this link-less entry supposed to be?

    Here's the story mentioned above:
    http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iPod-touch-3rd-Generation/1158/2 [ifixit.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:14PM (#29400239)

    Home sharing is just a way of automatically keeping multiple iTunes libraries up to date with new purchases when they are all tied to the same iTunes store account. It's not any kind of actual sharing service, just a synchronization service.

    • by radmarshallb (1062354) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:38PM (#29400401)
      Yes it is. Home Sharing has an option to allow you to automatically synchronize new purchases, but it does much more than that. You can copy any song from your iTunes library to any other machine on your Home Sharing network. For instance, I just copied a single album (ripped from my own CDs, not an iTMS purchase) from my main library upstairs onto my laptop. If an iPod were enabled for Home Sharing, it would make sense that you could do the same thing. That is, wirelessly sync whatever songs, albums, or playlists you choose to your iPod Touch.
      • Gah, forgot the most important part of that... That is, wirelessly sync whatever songs, albums, or playlists you choose to your iPod Touch FROM your iPod Touch.
      • by herojig (1625143)

        It's a sync from the store, but not from device to device, or from library to library. It is great u can copy from one machine to another now (with a limit of 5 machines that must be registered on the apple site) but u can't sync the libraries in any way with each other (other then purchased music). That would be really grand, but for now u need other software to do that:)

  • Silly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:20PM (#29400293) Homepage Journal

    This is silly. There would be so many other bottlenecks on a mobile device of this nature that the speed of the connectivity isn't an issue. I bet the iPod can't even consume (let alone serve) data at 802.11g speeds.

    • Re:Silly (Score:4, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:31PM (#29400369) Homepage Journal

      It's vastly easier to shovel bytes than to do something intelligent with them. Serving the files to another device is well within the capabilities of the iPhone. I have a DT Research DT168 with a 500 MHz Geode chip, and hooking up a 1TB MyBook to it via USB2 gives me real-world transfer rates of about 7MB/sec to assorted clients (all of which are more than powerful enough to receive the data much faster) over good old 100Mbps ethernet. I'm positive the iPhone or iPod Touch is capable of saturating 802.11g if its storage can handle it; and why not?

    • 802.11g is a little under 7MB/s maximum, with a lot less in most cases. I've never used an iphone or ipod touch, but I'd be surprised if it couldn't use more than 7MB/s. Single-stream 802.11n is about 20MB/s maximum, which doesn't seem too impossible either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      802.11n is 2x the range. 91m vs 45m.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      The iPod touch has a pretty hefty processor at 600 mhz, and would probably have no trouble filling in the bandwidth. I've never actually tested it, but I've heard a 486 serving static pages can manage to fill a T1 line.

      The biggest problem I can see with it is battery life. How much fun is it if you have to stop your movie in the middle because the iPod ran out of battery? You would probably want to keep it charging, although with every computer these days having a USB port, that might not be too much o
      • by dotgain (630123)
        A T1 is only 1.544 Mb/S, I'd say a 4MHz Z80 wouldn't have trouble filling that.
      • by kc8apf (89233)

        ... I've heard a 486 serving static pages can manage to fill a T1 line.

        It isn't _that_ hard to saturate 1.544Mbps. Most cable/DSL downlink speeds are faster than that. Now, a T3 is a bit more challenging, but nothing a single decent machine can't handle.

      • It's easy to forget just how fast modern machines are. Back in the day, ftp.cdrom.com pushed ~1TB a day from 1 box, a 200-MHz P6 Pentium Pro.

        (yeah yeah, ftp.cdrom.com had industrial quality I/O)

      • The biggest problem I can see with it is battery life. How much fun is it if you have to stop your movie in the middle because the iPod ran out of battery? You would probably want to keep it charging, although with every computer these days having a USB port, that might not be too much of an issue......as long as your computer is close enough to your TV.

        ... and the iPod is drawing as much or more power from the USB that it is consuming serving the video.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:21PM (#29400303)

    along with space-time block encoding, a feature coming soon to Wi-Fi access points with two or more radios

    So is this something that just came out in the final standard yesterday that all of the pre-standard devices don't implement properly, if at all?

    • by eggboard (315140)

      The final standard simply confirms what's been shipping in the market in largely unchanged form for over two years. The Wi-Fi Alliance has been certifying devices against a stable draft since 2007. There's no such thing as "pre-standard" devices in this category. Either they have a Wi-Fi seal for Draft N or they don't.

  • All this means (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fwipp (1473271) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:29PM (#29400349)
    All this means is that Apple decided to use a chip that happened to support wireless 802.11N communication. Maybe it was a planned feature, but it got cut. Maybe it was just cheaper or easier to work with than other offerings. Apple will not enable this at some point down the road, just as they won't activate the bluetooth chip inside older Ipod Touches. What _will_ happen is next year, they will sell a new model with the same chips, but this time with the necessary software support and bill it as a new compelling feature.
    • Re:All this means (Score:5, Informative)

      by itsdapead (734413) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @03:05PM (#29400561)

      just as they won't activate the bluetooth chip inside older Ipod Touches.

      Er, they did...

      If you pay Apple 10 bucks for the 3.0 OS upgrade, that unused bluetooth chip in the second-gen iPod Touch will spring into action... [tomsguide.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Yvan256 (722131)

        Actually it's only 4.99$ for the 3.1 upgdade.

        At least that's what it cost me to go from 2.x to 3.1.

        • by Dhalka226 (559740)

          I noticed exactly this, but I've seen both numbers.

          My observation/hypothesis is this: When the upgrade they were offering was to 3.0, a major revision, the price they asked was $9.99 USD. Personally I didn't upgrade at that time, because I didn't feel the features were compelling enough to pay $10. A month or so later (from my perspective; I've only had my Touch for about that long) the upgrade is now actually to 3.1.1, and the price was $4.99 USD. Of course in either event you're upgraded all the way

          • by Dog-Cow (21281)

            No. They just lowered the price. If you had upgraded to 3.0, the update to 3.1.1 would have been free.

  • by anethema (99553) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @02:45PM (#29400447) Homepage
    What I'm more curious about is any of the hardware there for it. Multiple antennas for MIMO? Any 5GHz hard&#239;&#187;&#191;ware? The biggest advantage to wireless-N IMO is it moves the wireless out of the stupidly crowded 2.4GHz ISM band. The 5GHz band is (at least for now) far less crowded and this unlicensed band has quite a few more channels to spread the devices out a bit more spectrum wise.

    The chip is one thing but without any other supporting hardware, it doesn't make much difference. The chip could have been chosen for better power characteristics or a few other reasons. Time will tell if apple enables any N style features but I am not holding my breath.
    • Well yes 5GHz would be very nice for the reason you mention. I've moved my home wifi net to 5GHz to get it out of the 2.4 muck and it would be nice if I could get an iPod touch that would operate there.

      However it won't be until they show up with a camera too.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      "The biggest advantage to wireless-N IMO is it moves the wireless out of the stupidly crowded 2.4GHz ISM band. The 5GHz band is (at least for now) far less crowded and this unlicensed band has quite a few more channels to spread the devices out a bit more spectrum wise."

      Yes, all of us with Macs and Airports are just thrilled that the rest of the world will now be routinely crowding up the 5 GHz spectrum.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It's single-channel N, so probably no MIMO either. Probably has 5 GHz, and Apple will probably enable it for free down the road because other devices will start to come with it. They won't do it right now because very few of their users will demand it and it would be just one more thing to support.

  • Till Apple adds a 5$ radio receiver I'll not be buying one. Not everything can be downloaded from itunes.
  • Cures cancer too. But not AIDS or world hunger. You need the multistream version for that.
  • Link to stories (Score:3, Informative)

    by eggboard (315140) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @04:07PM (#29400923) Homepage

    Sorry, I didn't properly include the link.

    My analysis about how the 802.11n stuff works related to an iPod touch, such as explaining what single-stream 802.11n means as a media server is here at TidBITS. [tidbits.com] The iFixIt tear down is here [ifixit.com].

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by R.Mo_Robert (737913) on Saturday September 12, 2009 @04:33PM (#29401053)

    This is not surprising, and now that it's confirmed, we can expect Apple to release an 802.11n enabler for iPod touch in the future and charge $.9.95 for it. They're so predictable these days...

    What's more interesting than this is that the new iPod touch, while almost identicial to the old one aside from a faster processor and some other things, is almost the exact same inside except for one small change [macrumors.com]: a space big enough to fit the same camera found on the iPod nano (in previous generations there was an antenna cable socket, which has been moved and, in its absence is now just plastic spacer).

    There were rumors of an iPod touch camera before it came out, even rumors that pinpointed the camera to this exact location in the device, and there was also a recent rumor that they pulled it due to some problems at the last minute. Looks like this confirms that, and I'm sure we can expect an updated iPod touch in the future with a camera. That, in my opinion, is far more interesting.

  • Soon after Apple activates 802.11n compliant mode, with a future firmware update, I predict a specialized iPod/iPhone botnet. It'll hook up with the recently discovered Linux webserver botnet, which has already hooked with the Windows PC botnet and woe unto the human race!

  • I've got a 2nd Generation Touch and I just updated it to the iPhone 3.1 software. I now see bluetooth options on it. This means it has that Broadcom chip that also does FM tuner too. I so want that capability.

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