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Apple Planning to Add Bluetooth Support for AirPlay, and Expand iOS Accessory Capabilities

Japanese blog Mac Otakara (via AppleInsider) reports that Apple held a MFI Conference conference in Shenzhen, China this past week. "MFI" is Apple's Made for iPod / iPhone / iPad certification program for accessory manufacturers.

During the talk, Apple reportedly revealed that they were going to provide a new certification chip for their MFI program to encourage more iOS-compatible accessories. The new chip will allow access to iOS devices over AirPlay, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. While Macotakara does not specify how this differs from the current program, the current program seems to be limited to physical dock accessories and specific AirPlay vendors.

In fact, TouchArcade recently touched on this fact in a recent article on iOS gaming accessories. TouchArcade noted that the reason why all the current gaming accessories such as the ThinkGeek iCade relies on Bluetooth keyboard emulation is due to the restrictions Apple has placed over bluetooth connections. It seems that this restriction will be loosened with the new certification chip, though details are sparse at the moment. TouchArcade suggests this could open the way to low-latency analog control sticks for iOS gaming.

Apple was also promoting the use of the new version of Low Energy Bluetooth 4.0 which was added in the iPhone 4S, noting that it could be used to support new applications in health care and gaming markets. We profiled the possibilities for Bluetooth Low Energy back in July.

Finally, Apple reportedly revealed that they would be adding support for AirPlay over Bluetooth, though it's not entirely clear what advantages this will offer.

Update: We've received some additional clarification on Apple's MFI program and the conference presentation, with the source noting that the new chip does not bring with it any additional capabilities. The chip, which has already been available for some time, is simply an authorization chip to verify compliance with the MFI program. The new chip is said to be faster and smaller and require less power than its predecessor, but does not confer any other functionality for devices.

Top Rated Comments

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31 months ago

No it cant. Try sending a pic or song over bluetooth with an iPhone. Good luck with that




Don't need luck.
Rating: 13 Positives
31 months ago
Expect all iOS devices to be even more awesome with this announcement!
Rating: 10 Positives
31 months ago
but can it send files like my 2003 nokia? guess not
Rating: 10 Positives
31 months ago

A 2003 nokia isn't a file??:confused:

But really, yes it can...


No it cant. Try sending a pic or song over bluetooth with an iPhone. Good luck with that
Rating: 9 Positives
31 months ago
Everything is better with Bluetooth!
Rating: 4 Positives
31 months ago
An low-latency wireless controler for gaming with iPad?

OH LAWDY
Rating: 4 Positives
31 months ago

Any devices which connect over airplay must first connect to wifi.:rolleyes:


Not if they implement Bluetooth like the article suggests.
Rating: 4 Positives
31 months ago
Any devices which connect over airplay must first connect to wifi.:rolleyes:

flight crew (http://scandlearn.com/)
flight crew courses (http://scandlearn.com/)
flight crew training (http://scandlearn.com/)
Rating: 4 Positives
31 months ago

but can it send files like my 2003 nokia? guess not


I used to think I was so cool sending text messages over Bluetooth on my Nokia thru my mac
Rating: 3 Positives
31 months ago

I don't understand this article for one bit. How does this differ from the current situation?

AirPlay is the name for streaming music over WiFi, AirPlay for bluetooth is just streaming using the AD2P-protocol, no difference.

This article makes no sense at all.


Airplay is far higher quality than AD2P, which is very lossy.

At the moment it requires a wifi network. Any devices which connect over airplay must first connect to wifi. This makes it difficult to travel with this setup. On the road, there will be no wifi, and when you get there, you'll have to connect two different devices.

Also, if you have more than one Wifi point, you can often lose connection while the devices switch.

This may also mean a much lower power consumption for airplay. It's possible that you could have portable Airplay speakers and Airplay headphones with far higher quality and reliability than A2DP.

I'm just speculating though.
Rating: 3 Positives

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