New app utilises hidden iOS feature to communicate

Jonathan Stewart
24 March, 2014
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Arriving on the iOS App Store last week, the new messaging app, FireChat could alter the manner in which iOS device owners message each other.

The app utilises an iOS 7 feature called the Multipeer Connectivity Framework, which enables users to communicate without an internet connection or mobile phone coverage.

It’s already used in Apple’s AirDrop, but  other uses of such technology could be highly beneficial, such as communicating in underground train stations, at sporting events or from remote locations.

Even better, it works across wider distances than popular wireless options Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

According to GigaOm, which spoke with the app developers from Open Garden, the technology creates an ad hoc, location-based network that includes all FireChat members in the area.

This community of devices act as carriers for those around them as well, linking to the next user in the chain. Which means that the distance the messaging app can reach is dependent on the number of FireChat users in the area. The more users of the app, the further the communication can travel.

Whether users will be willing to share their thoughts with other FireChat users in the area will be up for debate, but for remote locations it could be very handy indeed.

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