Right now innovation around mobile technology is a must if we are actually going to shift to a mobile-centric information model. The internet has gone through many shifts in its tenuous life span, but now it seems that video and streaming information at a high level is just par for the course. Now that mobile devices like the iPhone and now the iPad have become a mainstream solution we are seeing exactly how the device specifics are not exactly co-habitational with the current internet model at all levels. The internet itself was designed around the personal computing revolution and as it has grown to be a full multimedia environment we have to somehow get our growing set of related technologies in line for what is to come. Wi-Fi began this evolution, but in general the ability for something like an iPhone to maintain a serious connection via Wi-Fi is difficult as the basic power source it has does not have staying power. Right now the research race is on to see if the basic battery life that has set limits for the iPhone may be extended by altering how Wi-Fi connects.
Currently the 3G network cannot really handle a large influx of data, which is why Wi-Fi is still driving that boat among mobile device developers. Wi-Fi is continuing to gain speed as we move forward, as is the ability of the device itself to handle the information feed. The problem that is presented here is that in general the battery life has not matched this development surge.
What new technology research is trying to achieve is to reform the general Wi-Fi process through a change in the signal, not the hardware. Wi-Fi signal has always been a quick drain on the iPhone's battery life, which limits it as a viable option. AT&T's development of an overall limit on the available amount of data for regular users is pushing the shift toward Wi-Fi even more so, which is why recent developments may be the most important answer. The idea of these new software developments for Wi-Fi are in that they allow your iPhone to go into a "sleep" mode more often than normal, essentially saving battery life. The problem with this is that it really only addresses the waste of iPhone battery during a Wi-Fi download process and not for truly streaming media. For example, internet radio would remain a serious drain on your iPhone's battery and apps that work with these services are only becoming more popular.
This Wi-Fi development, called Catnap and NAPtime by some, is going to be a major assistance in the process to develop a battery lifespan that is reasonable to changing use, but not the last frontier. Instead more energy efficient iPhone's, better application management, and a general shift toward mobile internet use needs to be at the forefront as well. The internet was built in the image of the personal computer, and now we need to start building our mobile devices in the image of the internet.