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The Secret iOS Feature That Could Change the Internet

TIME

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. The article below was originally published at Fortune.com.

A few weeks ago, a messaging app called FireChat launched. It looks, at first, like just about any other messaging app in an already very crowded market, but FireChat is sneakily subversive and quite possibly the most important thing to happen to the Internet since international network hubs began to form in 1995.

(This is the moment when you ask: “Wait … what? Why?”)

FireChat uses a criminally underexploited feature in iOS 7 called the Multipeer Connectivity Framework. This sounds fancy and complicated, but all it means is that one Apple (AAPL) device (an iPhone, an iPad, even an iPod touch) can connect to another without using the Internet. That last part is the most important and worth repeating: The device need not…

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April 1, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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