A reportedly leaked roadmap from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) reveals what seem to be the next three iterations of the wireless protocol they have in store. These iterations include support for biometrics, indoor GPS, and IPv6. According to MYCE
, the confidential document shows that Bluetooth LE, or Bluetooth Low Energy, will be a major focus as consumers want extended battery life from devices that continue to decrease in size.
Of the major features planned to be debuted, the most interesting is an indoor positioning function that could go well with Apple’s recent acquisition of WiFiSLAM, a small firm which created “indoor GPS” technology based on the Wi-Fi standard. The Bluetooth iteration, expected to be ready in a 2014 build, is based on an enhanced packet structure that allows for direction finding, asset tracking and “public indoor positioning.”
In addition to this, work is being done to implement IPv6 into Bluetooth LE, which could help bring a so-called “internet of things” to life. By assigning every Bluetooth-enabled device a unique identifier, or IP address, real-world objects can be located and accessed via the Internet. In order to work properly, generic gateways need to provide a bridge from the device to an IP address. This is yet another issue that Bluetooth SIG is trying to tackle. Along with the aforementioned features, future iteration of Bluetooth claim to provide faster connections, consume less power, extend range, and increase privacy.
The features, applied to existing Apple products would bring a slew of welcomed additions to devices such as the iPhone and iPad. What’s more interesting though is how an improved low energy protocol can be adapted for the rumored “iWatch.” Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has mentioned that an iWatch would focus on several features that are to be included in upcoming versions of Bluetooth. Furthermore, the rumored iWatch was said to likely have a “secure user identification mechanism,” which is an asset that can be enhanced with built-in IPv6 support.
We’ll have to wait and see if Apple uses the upcoming enhanced Bluetooth technology to help them with their upcoming product offerings.