Date: Friday, June 10th, 2016, 08:56
Category: Bluetooth, Hardware, News, Software
Bluetooth 5, the next generation of the Bluetooth standard, is set to be formally announced next week.
The standard will offer double the range and quadruple the speed of the current Bluetooth protocol.
Executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, Mark Powell, revealed the news in a published email this week. The Bluetooth SIG, which is backed by Apple, Intel, and other major technology companies, will officially make the announcement on June 16 in London.
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.
It’s unclear whether Bluetooth 5 will come to existing devices as a firmware update or require new hardware, but the latter is more likely. Previously, Bluetooth 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 devices were not upgradeable to newer versions of the standard, but Bluetooth 4.0 devices could be upgraded to Bluetooth 4.1 via software patches.
Last October, Apple quietly added Bluetooth 4.2 support to its iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 devices, bringing 2.5x faster speeds and up to ten times higher data capacity to the devices.
Rumors of impending upgrades to Apple’s MacBook range typically make no mention of wireless protocols, while iPhone 7 leaks and speculation are also usually silent on the subject.
It’s suspected that Bluetooth will play an important part in the next-gen iPhone, which is thought to be removing the headphone jack. Should this happen, Bluetooth or Lightning-connected headphones are considered to be the next viable option for connecting to earbuds or headphones.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.