Much of the coverage centered around the latest Apple device, the iPhone 4S, has focussed on its headline features, like Siri and the 8 megapixel camera. However, for those who’ve spent a bit of time exploring what the smartphone has to offer, one cause of excitement is Bluetooth 4.0.
Bluetooth might feel a little old school to the younger smartphone market. WiFi, 3G and apps like Bump and now the iCloud mean sharing information smartphone to smartphone has never been easier. Bluetooth, in comparison, might feel a little redundant. Bluetooth enables wireless device to device communication, just not between phones but to headsets, car stereos, and keyboards. It removes the need for a router or a Wi-Fi network, which may be an easier way of sharing content, but it can often be difficult to find a strong open network when on the move.
Bluetooth 4.0 first appeared on Apple’s latest Mac Mini and the MacBook Air. Called Bluetooth Smart one of its key features is that it does not drain the battery, in the same way Bluetooth may have done in the past.
The way Bluetooth has worked in previous incarnations is to constantly send information, the connection is maintained by the stream of data sent by one device to another. The major drawback is that this constant stream required a fast processor, that could allow the user to multitask and it also meant the phone ran out of juice much faster. Bluetooth Smart also transfers data quicker, meaning the connection is needed for a shorter period of time.
Currently, both devices need to have the same technology for Bluetooth 4.0 to work, which means there is limited capacity for iPhone 4S users. There is some backwards compatibility, for example those with older versions of the software can share information, but iPhone 4S users will not be able to take advantage of the new features, like reduced power consumption.
At the moment, the potential for high speed, high data transfer is exciting corners of the market, those in the media or design industries that need to share large files frequently and speedily. But, like Fire Wire before it, often new technology is adopted and adapted by individual industries before its full potential is recognized by the wider consumer marketplace.
It is likely the next step will be fore new products to utilise the new software. Devices that work with Bluetooth 4 would be popular with those who want to stream files from device to device at home, without wires and interrupted data transfer, or for particular applications that will utilise the ability to send high data with reduced power consumption on the move.
Those who want to create a home entertainment set up using all their Apple kit throughout the home could welcome Bluetooth 4.0 with open arms. Sharing information from an upstairs office down to the family TV in the living room, sharing information from Mac to Mac quickly and effectively, ideal for those who do not want the information stored on various devices using space as it does in the iCloud. Monitoring devices remotely will also become much easier.
Some examples cited so far include heart rate monitors or improved GPS sensors. A more efficient power supply makes the device much more reliable for constant or repetitive use.
Incorporating Bluetooth Smart on iPhone 4S contracts shows Apples desire to integrate all of its devices into one holistic plan. Sharing information quicker, easier and smarter has become a central aim, it would appear, of Apple and by incorporating it into their latest smartphone phone contracts shows Apple is looking to bring this integration on the move, allowing it to follow the user around in their pocket, wherever they go.