Apple’s iPhone 4S pips the competition to be the first to include Bluetooth low energy

Bluetooth technology has been included with the iPhone 4S and is emblematic of the technology's reach. It is expected that 370 million cellular handsets will have dual-mode Bluetooth by the end of 2012.


So it’s official. Apple's latest and greatest iPhone will be the first publically available phone that utilizes Bluetooth low energy capability amongst a wealth of other updates. The inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0 hardly comes as a big surprise considering Apple’s recent activity and previous product launches. It was only three months ago that Apple, along with Nordic Semiconductor joined the board of directors at the Bluetooth SIG, and only a few days after that released their first Bluetooth low energy capable devices in the form of their new MacBook Air and Mac Mini. However while these releases were a big step forward for the deployment of Bluetooth low energy, the inclusion in the iPhone 4S it is to date, the most important.

Given the popularity of Apple’s iPhone, the prospect that there could be tens of millions of Bluetooth low energy capable mobile devices in the market by Christmas should be a huge stimulus for companies developing devices incorporating low energy technology. IMS Research is projecting shipments of dual-mode Bluetooth enabled cellular handsets will exceed 370 million units by the end of 2012, and 1.6 billion units by the end of 2015.

Without a Bluetooth low energy enabled ‘hub’ device to connect to, manufacturers of connectable devices (i.e. sports and health monitoring equipment) have been slow to develop solutions using this technology. Now Apple has included this, half of the puzzle is in place.

There is already an array of accessories for existing iPhones, which add additional wireless capability (such as ANT+ with Adidas’ miCoach and Digifits transceiver to connect to devices by Garmin and other sports manufacturers). By using Bluetooth low energy; these companies could now connect directly to an iPhone without the need for an additional adaptor to be plugged into the phone for the devices to work. As well as providing a cost saving, it is also likely to stimulate 3rd party ‘app’ developers to produce applications supporting a wide range of health and fitness devices, given the ability to natively connect a wide range of devices directly to the iPhone 4S.

The inclusion of Bluetooth low energy also opens the door for other applications such as the phone acting as a universal remote control using apps from Apple’s app store to control devices such as the TV or set-top box. Although there are currently no Bluetooth low energy equipped TVs in the market, IMS Research projects that we will begin to see Bluetooth low energy equipped TVs 2H12. The opportunities for Bluetooth low energy are endless and we can expect there to be a mass of inventive applications that use the iPhone as the control device.

While this inclusion is the most significant announcement for Bluetooth low energy to date, I can’t help but feel that had this of been the release of the iPhone 5 rather than the 4S, consumer uptake of these new devices would be even greater. What we can be certain of however, is that now Apple has become the first phone manufacturer to include Bluetooth low energy, other phone manufacturers will most likely, follow suit.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.