Apple’s latest iPhone, the 7, shipped on Friday and is finding its way into consumer hands. This is the first wildly popular smartphone to shun the 3.5 mm headphone jack for audio. This doesn’t immediately mean all audio connectivity will be wireless – there is a dongle, there are options for lightning connected headphones and earbuds – but there is definitely renewed excitement around wireless audio and we are pretty excited as well.
Streaming audio is frequently the first Bluetooth® technology experience a user has, often through a phone with a headset to comply with hands-free driving laws or streaming music to portable speakers. The simplicity and the magic of that experience delights consumers. This acts, for lack of a better term, as a gateway drug to the wonderful world of wireless connectivity.
But that first love can be easily overlooked as Bluetooth moves into everything from door locks to vending machines or parking meters, and this permeation will continue. The low-energy feature of Bluetooth makes it ideal for sensor and beacon solutions – basically the Internet of Things (IoT). But largely, audio streaming still relies on Bluetooth feature sets in versions preceding Bluetooth 4.0.
The initial specification of Bluetooth with low energy enabled wearables, peripherals, and beacons propelling the IoT to where it is today. The Bluetooth SIG is working closely with our member companies in three unique working groups to drive updates and upgrades for wireless audio. Specifics on the roadmap, including projected dates, applications, and solutions, will be released in early 2017.
Stay tuned. You’ll hear it here first. Exciting things are happening…for everyone.