Apple Conference Highlights AirPlay and Bluetooth Accessories

Last week, the Japanese outlet Macotakara disclosed that Apple conducted its “Made For iPhone” (MFI) summit in Shenzen, China (translated version). The event was attended by 2,000 accessory manufacturers and OEMs, where Apple unveiled a new certification chip for MFI products and announced future support for AirPlay via Bluetooth 4.0.

Currently, only 2 percent of the MFI-certified accessories available use the Bluetooth version of the iPod Accessory Protocol, which was first introduced in iOS 5.

Apple’s strategy is to expedite the development of compatible devices and expand the AirPlay device ecosystem by sevenfold through the promotion of the MFI program.

The Bluetooth 4.0 (or Bluetooth Smart) features optional lower power requirements which are ideal for always-on remote peripherals. Currently, the only Apple mobile device that supports 4.0 is the iPhone 4S; Macs with the new Bluetooth stack include the current Mac mini and MacBook Air.

According to The Verge, the article may have been misinterpreted from its original Japanese version; their sources claim that AirPlay is not transitioning to Bluetooth 4, but will continue to use a WiFi-only connection for the time being.

However, the process of authenticating and connecting an AirPlay device might become simpler; 9to5Mac’s Seth Weintraub mentions the Bluetooth 3.0 HS+ spec, which combines Bluetooth for negotiation and a colocated 802.11 (WiFi) connection for bandwidth up to 24 Mbit, sufficient for music streaming.

[via AppleInsider, MacRumors]


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