October 5, 2011
Another tidbit from yesterday's iPhone 4S announcement is that the next generation iPhone comes with the new and improved Bluetooth 4.0 standard. You might not care much about Bluetooth right now, but it's bigger than you think if used properly. Here are the details: First of all, Bluetooth 4.0 isn't much of a surprise, we told you it's coming back in July, and it was pretty obvious following the addition of the standard to the MacBook Air. What Bluetooth 4.0 allows you to do is very close to NFC, and might actually be used by developers to do payments and much more. From our July story:
Unlike regular Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, the low-energy part of the 4.0 specification allows devices to communicate using almost no power. This might not sound like a big deal at first, but it is actually crucial to a whole array of new developments. Casio for example uses this technology to allow its watches to communicate with some cellphones over a range of five meters (16 feet). It lets you cheaply add geo-location capabilities inside a building, not to mention many health and communication applications Payments are also an option.So yeah, all in all it's a lot like Nike+, or NFC. Of course, the problem with payments is that if you want to take advantage of a wireless payment system, the place you're paying at needs to have the necessary terminals. Most often, they don't have these. When they do, those are usually terminals deployed by Visa or Mastercard, that are only NFC compatible, and your iPhone 4S will not be able to take advantage of it, even if Apple was to make an app for it and get the necessary deals in place. Apps like Bump on the other hand can improve their apps to use this. Or Apple could add it to the iPad 3 and let you do touch-to-share. Either way, we're looking forward to anything that comes out of it.