The most recent versions of iOS, including iOS 9.1, are found to contain references to Li-Fi, an experimental high-speed wireless networking protocol that uses pulses of light to transmit data, revealing Apple may be testing the new technology for its future iPhones, AppleInsider is reporting.
Spotted first by Twitter user Chase Fromm, the operating system’s library cache file makes mention of “LiFiCapability” alongside other hardware and software capability declarations.
“Li-Fi is still in the experimental phase, but a number of companies are working to commercialize the technology. Li-Fi works in a way not entirely unlike a traditional infrared remote control. Data is transmitted by rapidly modulating a light source, and received with a light sensor before being reassembled into an electronic signal.
Unlike your television remote, Li-Fi uses visible light and the modulation happens in a manner imperceptible to the human eye: that means the same bulb that lights your hallway can act as a data access point. It’s also much faster, with theoretical throughput capacity of up to 224 gigabits per second.”
The source notes that in addition to the software references, Apple is also said to be working on hardware implementations for light-based wireless data transfer, or optical wireless communication.
An Apple patent filing from a couple of years back describes “optical modulation using an image sensor”, which in general, follows a similar principle as well.