If there's one thing that I've wanted to be able to do for years, it's to set up a direct Wi-Fi connection to another device without having to actually be near a Wi-Fi base station, or going to the trouble of getting an ad-hoc network set up on both devices. This type of peer-to-peer networking is nothing new; back in the Newton MessagePad days we could beam address cards and data between devices through an IrDA connection.
Now the Wi-Fi Alliance has announced that this will be possible next year through the use of Wi-Fi Direct. Wi-Fi Direct will come built into many new devices and can be implemented in existing devices through software updates. Wi-Fi Direct competes directly with Bluetooth, and will provide much faster data transfer speeds (using more power, unfortunately). According to the Wi-Fi Alliance,
"The specification, previously code-named 'Wi-Fi peer-to-peer,' can be implemented in any Wi-Fi device, from mobile phones, cameras, printers, and notebook computers, to human interface devices such as keyboards and headphones. Significantly, devices that have been certified to the new specification will also be able to create connections with hundreds of millions of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED legacy devices already in use. Devices will be able to make a one-to-one connection, or a group of several devices can connect simultaneously."I can imagine that at some point in 2010, we'll be able to sync our iPhones using Wi-Fi Direct, directly send address book information to other iPhone-toting people, and enjoy high-speed multi-player gaming fun. Apple is a sponsor corporation for the Wi-Fi Alliance, so adoption of Wi-Fi Direct on Macs, iPhones, and future Apple equipment will hopefully be swift and widespread.