An interesting take on the mobile connected future Apple envisioned, just popped-up in the USPTO database, in the form of newly awarded patent.
When exploring ways of getting a foothold into mobile device market, Apple asked a question: Why do cellular radios have to be coupled with the rest of the mobile phone? Came up with an answer – they don’t. And proceeded to imagine the ways how such an arrangement could work.
Apple’s basic idea was to create a stand alone RF Module with radios, power source and other necessary circuitry to connect the cellular networks. These devices will also have a Personal Area Networking (PAN) capabilities to connect to other devices via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or other protocols.
The RF modules won’t have any user interface, perform only a simple connectivity function and will be really small. This way they can be clipped on to your backpack or handbag, integrated into your shoes, clothes or car stereos, or put into a special shirt pocket. And they will automagically transform your iPod, iWatch or any other Apple device into a mobile phone.
The question is, why on earth would we need all this complexity with separate RF Modules, Bluetooth, etc; just to make phone calls with iPod Nano? When we already have an iPhone – an extremely portable device with an integrated 3G and LTE connectivity, that meets most of our computing and communication needs?
Of course we wouldn’t.
And Apple’s stand alone RF Modules will never get out of R&D labs into the real world. Even though the patent for this technology was awarded today, the application for was filed on April 19th, 2007. Before the first iPhone even shipped. Which means that along with iPod Phones, RF Modules were just one of the options Apple considered and discarded in favor of iPhone.