One of the lesser-known facts to emerge about the iPhone 4S yesterday is that it is the first phone to launch with Bluetooth 4.0, the latest version of Bluetooth. Not many products are available with Bluetooth 4.0 just yet--in fact, two of the most recent products to ship with Bluetooth 4.0 are also from Apple: the MacBook Air and the Mac Mini. Bluetooth 4.0 is backward-compatible with all other versions of Bluetooth, so you can pair existing Bluetooth headsets with the new iPhone without a problem.
So what's so special about it? According to Mike Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group), the key new feature of Bluetooth 4.0 is its low-energy technology. This lets device manufacturers replace proprietary sensor technology with Bluetooth, which is a more widely adopted standard. An obvious example is in the health and fitness category. Most pedometers, heart rate straps, and blood glucose monitors are designed to only talk to a specific wristwatch or control unit. If these same devices had Bluetooth 4.0, they could speak to any Bluetooth 4.0 device, be it phone or computer, without requiring an intermediary.
"It's an extremely optimized version of Bluetooth," Foley said. "It enables an entirely new class of product into the Bluetooth world." … Read more