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Bluetooth 5 to Offer Improved Range, 4x Speed

The next-generation Bluetooth protocol is expected to bring a ton of improvements to users, including faster speeds, better range, and interesting geo-location features
Post-PC Era
June 10, 2016

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has announced that a new Bluetooth release is on the horizon, and that a major update is in store for us all. Called Bluetooth 5, the upgraded standard will be officially announced next week, and will bring a number of improvements to the platform.

The news came from the group's executive director, Mark Powell, who published an email concerning the move (via MacRumors). According to Powell, the name of Bluetooth's next release is set to be Bluetooth 5, signalling a significant, next-generation update (the current version of Bluetooth stands at 4.2). Among the changes, Powell notes, are improved speed and range, plus some interesting geo-location functionality. The announcement is scheduled for June 16, and will be made in London.

More specifically, Bluetooth 5 is said to be four times faster than the current Bluetooth release. It'll also feature a bigger range, allowing users to move even further away from their Bluetooth-connected devices. In its article, MacRumors added:

The new standard is also said to offer significantly wider support for smart home devices and enhanced Internet of Things (IoT) functionality, in addition to increased support for location-based connectionless services, such as assistive navigation beacons.

In order to get Bluetooth 5, it's likely a hardware upgrade is going to be required on the part of users. This has traditionally been the case for significant Bluetooth releases in the past. As such, you'll need to pick up a new iPhone or iPad in order to enjoy the release, but only once Apple adds support into the hardware.

Apple currently uses Bluetooth to maintain a connection between its Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. But with the potential of wireless EarPods on the horizon, Bluetooth 5 could come into play here. Apple is a supporter of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, and so you can expect the company to integrate Bluetooth 5 at some point. We'll keep you posted with further information as we receive it.