FireChat Allows Apple Users to Chat Without Internet
New messaging app FireChat allows users to communicate without using data or Wi-Fi. Instead the system relies on a little-known feature of iOS, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Multipeer Connectivity framework, a network that connects users through signals broadcast from their devices.
Apple devices broadcast this signal about thirty feet, but for every iPhone, iPad or Mac that joins the network, the signal is strengthened by the signals from the other device and expands the field. When a lot of people are in one area, say at a sporting event, mall, college campus, or even an apartment building, the signal would have a much further range than the original thirty feet offered by a single device. The technology was a new addition for iOS 7, but Apple also uses it for AirDrop, which allows nearby Mac computers to share files.
FireChat, an app developed by tech start-up The Open Garden, takes advantage of this technology. Before the launch of FireChat, The Open Garden’s apps were exclusively for Android phones. It is currently the company’s only app for iOS.