In keeping with tradition, this year's WWDC keynote presented a massive amount of new information about the future of Apple's products. So much information is shared at WWDC that to catch it all, you've got to pay close attention to each and every slide available. One of this year's quietest announcements was the inclusion of Hotspot 2.0 support for the upcoming iOS 7. It's okay if you missed it; no one commented on it, the news was simply included in a slide during the presentation.
So why does Hotspot 2.0 matter to you? In short, it could help save heavy-data users in metropolitan areas a lot of money. Hotspot 2.0 is a form of public-access WiFi that automatically connects your phone to a WiFi network when you enter its range. The project is an extension of the nonprofit WiFi Alliance's Certified Passpoint system. Connections made via this system have WPA2 security protection, meaning your information is safe from other users. Hotspot 2.0 connections are made without users having to search for a network, figure out a login and other modern WiFi hassles.
Users who find themselves in public areas with a weak signal would still have access to online services thanks to these hotspots. As the implementation becomes more widespread users will find the added benefit of what the Wi-Fi Alliance called "WiFi Roaming," moving about and connecting to different supported networks as you move from location to location.
Its success will depend on how widespread Hotspot 2.0 access points can become, but as a heavy-data user myself, one whose mobile carrier is constantly trying to limit data use, a future where we're more reliant on open, secure WiFi is a beautiful dream. We'll let you know more about Apple's service details as they become available. Samsung's Galaxy S 4 currently has Hotspot 2.0 access, but you've got time before it's going to be useful. It will still be a year or two before the necessary tech is widespread enough to be of any real use.