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Rumor: Apple's Ditching Wi-Fi with Upcoming 'AirPlay Direct'

Apple's AirPlay is already one of the most effective solutions for wireless media streaming, but a new report claims that a September update could make the technology even more seamless and versatile than it is now.

Currently, streaming content over AirPlay requires both the signal-sending Apple hardware and the receiving device to be on the same Wi-Fi network. Britain's Telegraph reports that audio equipment manufacturers are hard at work preparing for an AirPlay upgrade that would allow Apple devices to connect directly to compatible devices, with no additional Wi-Fi piggybacking needed.

The working title for the technology is AirPlay Direct, but that will likely change when it's launched, seeing as how it apes the name of Wi-Fi Direct, a competing protocol that also allows two compatible devices to create a direct wireless connection. The first Wi-Fi Direct devices launched in late 2010, right around the same time that AirTunes was beefed up and switched over to the AirPlay name.

The Telegraph reports that AirPlay Direct will be announced at the same time as the iPhone 5, with several signs pointing to a September 12th launch. iOS 6, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, is also expected to be fully unveiled that day.