New iPhone 5 AirPlay to eliminate Bluetooth

By Alan Ng - Aug 30, 2012

You’ve heard some of the more familiar features of the upcoming iPhone 5 within iOS 6 in the last few weeks, but one new feature thought to be coming is gaining considerable interest this week. Apple are thought to be enhancing their current AirPlay experience to consumers and we could see the debut of AirPlay Direct when Apple takes to the stage on September 12 to announce their next iPhone.

We are really excited to see how turn-by-turn navigation within Siri on iOS 6 is going to turn out, but music lovers could be in for a real treat with AirPlay Direct if reports turn out to be true.

At the moment, Apple allows for musical streaming around the house or any other location via a WiFi connection link between iOS devices and compatible musical equipment such as speaker docks and HiFi systems. AirPlay mirroring of apps was also a very impressive feature of iOS 5, but Apple are looking to raise the stakes with AirPlay Direct, which apparently doesn’t require a wireless connection to operate.

How is this going to be possible you ask? Well, Apple may be building their iPhone 5 in a way in which users will be able to set up a personal ad-hoc network, specifically for their musical streaming requirements when in the house or out on the go. The way it has been envisioned is that an iPhone 5 running iOS 6 will be able to stream music with another iPhone 5 or AirPlay Direct peripheral, solely via personal networks that will not require a WiFi connection and thus eliminating the need for Bluetooth further.

It has been made clear from the start that Apple are not really keen on the use of Bluetooth to share media between a user’s device back and forth. While you can easily send a music file or picture via Bluetooth on Android in an instant, Apple doesn’t allow this for obvious reasons, although through the use of iMessage you can now easily send pictures to another iOS user free of charge.

With AirPlay Direct offering free music streaming without the need for wires, is this another indication that Apple are planning to make bluetooth on the iPhone obsolete? How many of you actually have a use for bluetooth on the iPhone 4/ 4S at the moment, because to us it seems pretty useless when not using it for in-car purposes.

Are you happy that Apple is dedicating more time to improving the AirPlay functionality for the iPhone 5, or would you like to see other areas addressed as a priority first?

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  • (Full disclosure – I rep the Bluetooth SIG, the trade association that creates and promotes the technology.) Connecting phones to cars should not be overlooked as something minor, but even more so you are completely discounting the many other uses for Bluetooth, both now and coming shortly. It is extremely short-sighted to think that Apple is going to shut out Bluetooth. For what purpose? It doesn’t take up a lot of real estate within the phone, it’s not expensive, it’s low power, lots of people use it (and even more so will in the future, especially to connect sports & fitness devices to their phones) and hey, Apple sits on the Bluetooth SIG board. Not happening.

  • polarbreeze

    What do you mean “doesn’t require a wireless connection to operate”?! Of course it needs a wireless connection. The question is whether that wireless connection is (a) Wi-Fi or (b) Bluetooth or (c) other. And how do you make the leap from this news to suggesting they are making Bluetooth obsolete?!! This article makes no logical sense whatsoever. Very muddled thinking…

  • I own a Jambox and use bluetooth almost daily and I’m in the works of getting a pair of Jaybird bluetooth headphones for running. I dont think Apple will move away from bluetooth in the sense of having it in their devices… They might not use it but they will still offer it. One big example is that in iOS 6 bluetooth is moved to the first page in the settings panel for easy access which is much appreciated.

  • Pyronick

    Apple will never work Bluetooth out of the world as it’s simply to big. And now with Bluetooth 3.0 HS + NFC pairing and the newer Bluetooth Smart (4.0/Low Power) standards it’s getting bigger and bigger.

  • Yup that won’t be happening. Apple just upgraded to Bluetooth 4.0, and it’s been in every I device since day 1. Millions of people have BT headsets (including my Sony BT headphones that I use everyday!). While it may be true that AirPlay may work without Bluetooth down the road…I think it’s important to point out that AirPlay never used bluetooth to begin with. I think the blogger is just some guy who has never tried a Bluetooth device…doesn’t really know what he is talking about.

    • sj

      “…doesn’t really know what he is talking about.” Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner.

  • John Escobar

    “How many of you actually have a use for bluetooth on the iPhone 4/ 4S at the moment, because to us it seems pretty useless”Im sorry but there are many people out there that will be very disappointed with this, Without Bluetooth, millions of people will be unable to use their Cars built in phone link! enabling them to be hands-free.

  • Ryans

    I actually use bluetooth regularly on my Iphone, as a motorcyclist I use it to connect wirelessly to my helmet so that I can listen to music. I personally think it would be ridiculous to completely get rid of it.