Apple iPhone 7 could feature Li-Fi, a technology 100 times faster than Wi-Fi
iOS source code has revealed Apple may be planning to incorporate superfast Li-Fi technology into future iPhones
Published 21/01/2016 | 08:50
The next iPhones could feature Li-Fi technology, a method of transmitting data through light which is around 100 times faster than Wi-Fi.
Codebreaker Chase Fromm spotted mention of 'LiFiCapability' in operating system iOS 9.1's library cache.
Li-Fi has been in development for several years thanks to researchers at universities including Strathclyde, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Cambridge, and uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to beam information through the air, which is received by a light sensor.
Professor Harald Haas of the University of Edinburgh is widely credited with its creation in 2011, when he demonstrated that with a flickering light from a single LED, he could transmit more data than a cellular tower.
While traditional Wi-Fi is capable of transmitting data at around 7 gigabits per second (Gbps), Li-Fi tests have shown it can transfer information at more than 100 Gbps, with a theoretical output of 224 Gbps.
This effectively means that high-definition films could be downloaded on devices using a Li-Fi connection in a matter of seconds. Fitting any form of light device, including a humble lightbulb, with a microchip could transform it into a wireless data transmission point, Professor Hass explained in a TED talk.
Li-Fi is currently still in a highly developmental stage, meaning it's extremely unlikely to feature in the iPhone 7, expected for release this September.
It is also limited in its current form as visible light is incapable of travelling through walls, and that a device needs to be within direct sight of a receiver, and within a radius of around three metres. It also means it can only be used in lit rooms.
In the future, devices may be able to sidestep this restriction through use of a tracking and location system, meaning a user could place a laptop at a random spot on a table and have the system find it and create a link, according to Spectrum.IEEE.