Author and blogger Glenn Fleishman over at TidBITS has some great insights into iFixit's discovery that the 3rd generation iPod touch has an 802.11n-capable wireless chip. We mentioned this in our initial analysis of iFixit's teardown, but we still had a few comments asking what it could really do and some who claimed it could do nothing. With the help of Glenn's article, I'll put a few of those thoughts to rest and probably fuel more conspiracies with these highlights:
- Until recently, 802.11n-capable devices required two antennas. That has changed with the introduction of Single-Stream 802.11n, thus making it possible for manufacturers to put wireless-n into handheld devices.
- Part of the Single-Stream endeavor was a desire for better battery life. If Apple enables wireless-n in the future, it's very likely that you'll see the battery life improve when doing anything on WiFi because these chips should consume less power than wireless-g.
- Wireless-n could allow the iPod touch to send 50 percent more data across the network. That would give it a theoretical throughput of 30Mbps or more instead of its current 20Mbps.
- It's also possible that Single-Stream wireless-n technology will be more efficient on wireless networks. In order for that to happen, Apple will have to update their wireless routers to contain space-time block coding (STBC), but that could be as simple as a firmware update.