Stereo Bluetooth audio is coming to the iPod Touch, said Apple's Greg Joswiak at Tuesday's iPhone OS 3.0 preview event. The added Bluetooth functionality will come by way of the OS 3.0 upgrade, due out this summer. While iPod Touch owners clearly win from the addition of Bluetooth support (a $9.95 upgrade fee is required), they may be a little peeved to learn that the second-generation iPod Touch hardware has probably supported Bluetooth all along.
A Broadcom BCM4325 chip revealed in iFixit's teardown of the second-generation iPod Touch back in September of 2008 was originally thought to be used strictly for the device's wireless Nike+ support. It turns out the chip is most likely capable of full-fledged Bluetooth audio and data transmission, but has been purposefully left dormant by Apple. After being unlocked by the OS 3.0 upgrade, the iPod Touch (second-generation only) should be capable of Bluetooth features such as A2DP, wireless accessory control (including gaming), and peer-to-peer connections.
In the end, adding Bluetooth functionality to the iPod Touch is worth every penny of the $9.95 OS upgrade, and makes the device more competitive against iPod alternatives such as the Samsung P2 (soon to be the P3) and the Cowon S9. Still, existing Touch owners must feel a little burned that Apple purposely withheld the feature up until now.