Apple officially adds Bluetooth 4.2 support to iPhone 6, 6 Plus & iPad Air 2

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2015
In announcing Bluetooth 4.2 support for iPhone 6s, iPad Pro and iPad mini 4 last month, Apple published product comparison charts suggesting that same technology was also activated in older hardware. The company recently confirmed that change by updating specific product pages for iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2.


Apple's iPad comparison chart (above) and iPad Air 2 specifications page as they appeared on Sept. 9.


As seen in the screenshots above, captured by AppleInsider reader Matthew on the day Apple unveiled its fall product lineup, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 are listed as supporting the new Bluetooth 4.2 standard. At the time, detailed product pages dedicated to those three devices did not reflect such a change, instead listing compatibility with Bluetooth 4.0, causing some confusion as to actual product capabilities.

Apple has since updated its tech specs pages for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 to indicate support for Bluetooth 4.2. Interestingly, each product retains its original model number, suggesting Apple either modified the Bluetooth stack in iOS 9 or built in new chips without changing product designators. The distinction is an important one to make, as only newer components are capable of taking advantage of certain Bluetooth 4.2 features, specifically increases in data transfer speed.

AppleInsider reached out to Apple for clarification and will update this article when a response is received.

Bluetooth Core Specification 4.2 is well-suited for low-power connectivity solutions, especially Internet of Things devices, as it integrates the advanced IPv6/6LoWPAN Internet protocol, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. Compared to previous versions, the latest spec offers speed boosts, higher efficiency and improved security.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    roakeroake Posts: 648member
    This has happened before, with wireless N, I think it was...
  • Reply 2 of 45
    Bluetooth 4.2 consists of a number of features. Some of these features are higher level, like privacy extensions, and can be updated in software. Some features, like the longer packet length, require new hardware.
  • Reply 3 of 45
    geekmeegeekmee Posts: 328member
    How do find out what version of Bluetooth your device is running under iOS9?
  • Reply 4 of 45
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Roake View Post



    This has happened before, with wireless N, I think it was...



    Yeah, Apple charged $5 to enable it initially.

  • Reply 5 of 45
    The only problem with Bluetooth is that Apple pushes the specifications along at a much faster pace (to its credit) than accessory makers do.

    My 3-year-old Alpine deck in my car as gone from being completely awesome to completely frustrating. With iOS 6 and 7, I'd jump in my car and the phone and deck would connect instantly. With iOS 9 now, I'm the guy in the parking lot with the engine running taking about 5-10 minutes to get the two devices to communicate.

    My favorite is when Play/Pause are out-of-sync: the iPhone shows the song being paused and the deck says Play. Whichever device you toggle, the other device does the opposite! I have to turn off the deck and close out all music apps on the iPhone.

    Alpine has offered one firmware update in the 5 years the deck has been available. Apple has provided billions of updates in the same time period. Things don't mesh so well.
  • Reply 6 of 45
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    roake wrote: »
    This has happened before, with wireless N, I think it was...

    Apple shipped the devices with the N capable hardware installed, and then tried to charge five bucks to enable the higher speeds after specification was officially ratified. Not surprisingly, there was serious backlash and the firmware update was made free after about a month. This is different. 4.2 requires newer hardware not present in these products previously. You could enable certain aspects of the 4.2 spec with a firmware update, but it would never be fully compatible.
  • Reply 7 of 45
    cash907 wrote: »
    Apple shipped the devices with the N capable hardware installed, and then tried to charge five bucks to enable the higher speeds after specification was officially ratified. Not surprisingly, there was serious backlash and the firmware update was made free after about a month. This is different. 4.2 requires newer hardware not present in these products previously. You could enable certain aspects of the 4.2 spec with a firmware update, but it would never be fully compatible.

    1) $1.99.

    2) A nominal fee was required for legal reasons, not because of your ridiculous theory that Apple was nickel-and-diming their customers. A rational person would realize that $1.99 isn't going to affect Apple's bank, but getting customers to buy new Macs with 802.11n as a feature would. Of course, being rational, fair, or objective isn't something you've ever considered.
  • Reply 8 of 45
    AIDA64 finds Bluetooth for my iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2.
  • Reply 9 of 45
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,390member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    1) $1.99.

    2) A nominal fee was required for legal reasons, not because of your ridiculous theory that Apple was nickel-and-diming their customers. A rational person would realize that $1.99 isn't going to affect Apple's bank, but getting customers to buy new Macs with 802.11n as a feature would. Of course, being rational, fair, or objective isn't something you've ever considered.

    Bollocks, Apple charged that same fee internationally, the rubbish US law doesn't have anything to do with them charging the fee internationally
  • Reply 10 of 45
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    jfanning wrote: »
    Bollocks, Apple charged that same fee internationally, the rubbish US law doesn't have anything to do with them charging the fee internationally

    Charging the same nominal fee was simply being fair, which is something you and Cash907 may want to consider in the future, instead of letting an irrational hatred for Apple rule your responses.

    Additionally, the price wasn't dropped a month later, and you're an idiot if you think Apple is making billions from selling the firmware upgrade over getting people to buy new Macs.
  • Reply 11 of 45
    jfanning wrote: »
    Bollocks, Apple charged that same fee internationally, the rubbish US law doesn't have anything to do with them charging the fee internationally
    The US law applies to Apple, a US company, no matter where the purchase happens. They have to charge for the upgrade.
    You are showing your ignorance. Let it go.
  • Reply 12 of 45
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,390member
    brertech wrote: »
    The US law applies to Apple, a US company, no matter where the purchase happens. They have to charge for the upgrade.
    You are showing your ignorance. Let it go.

    No, the vast majority of my Apple purchased have been non-US, they must abide to the laws in those countries, and accounting laws of the holding company, which in most of the world is Apple Ireland (which that law doesn't apply).

    Also, if Apple has to abide by it, how come no other company was as anal about it?
  • Reply 13 of 45
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,390member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Charging the same nominal fee was simply being fair, which is something you and Cash907 may want to consider in the future, instead of letting an irrational hatred for Apple rule your responses.

    Yes, I hate Apple so much, I cry every time I reply to someone using my Mac

    solipsismy wrote: »
    Additionally, the price wasn't dropped a month later, and you're an idiot if you think Apple is making billions from selling the firmware upgrade over getting people to buy new Macs.

    I didn't say the price dropped a month later, in fact I don't think they dropped the price until well after the update came in a new OS X version. So stop with your hatred of everyone and refer to the right person.
  • Reply 14 of 45
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,989member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    Charging the same nominal fee was simply being fair

    That's absurd.  Apple do not charge the same amount for their products around the world in numerous other instances.  Apple offer giveaways and special deals in some countries and not other.  Apple do not top up the sales tax on all products to the maximum legally required in any one country for the sake of "fairness".  

     

    Bollocks it had anything to do with fairness.  Apple do not care about fairness across country borders.

  • Reply 15 of 45
    crowley wrote: »
    That's absurd.  Apple do not charge the same amount for their products around the world in numerous other instances.  Apple offer giveaways and special deals in some countries and not other.  Apple do not top up the sales tax on all products to the maximum legally required in any one country for the sake of "fairness".  

    Bollocks it had anything to do with fairness.  Apple do not care about fairness across country borders.

    Agreed. I happened to compare the prices for an entry level iPhone 6s in Switzerland and the USA and see that the device costs 18% more in Switzerland. I can't account for most of the disparity (given sales tax differences account for a few to about 8%.)
  • Reply 16 of 45
    I installed AIDA64 on my iPad and found the chip number which is Broadcom 4345. I found this page http://www.bluetooth.com/Pages/Product-Listing-Detail.aspx?ProductID=96282

    It says Bluetooth 4.2. May be it is just a software update.
  • Reply 17 of 45
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    konqerror wrote: »
    Bluetooth 4.2 consists of a number of features. Some of these features are higher level, like privacy extensions, and can be updated in software. Some features, like the longer packet length, require new hardware.

    It's likely like Wireless-N. You could update the driver/software to enable Wireless-N on several Wireless-G devices but it only gives you N on the 2.4Ghz band.

    With Bluetooth this sounds like the same kind of thing, where it's enabling 4.2 features on 4.0 radios.
  • Reply 18 of 45
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 396member
    Using AIDA64, the iPhone 6s Plus shows Bluetooth 4.2, the iPad Air 2 shows 4.0
  • Reply 19 of 45
    From what I recall, they way they were doing the accounting at the time, they found they were not allowed to give the Wireless-N change for free. Also, no matter which country they sold into, they still have to abide by U.S. accounting rules. I think they have changed their accounting now so they can roll out free features to hardware the have already sold.

    I think this also affected a very early iOS upgrade where iPod owners had to pay extra? (I know it wasn't called iOS then.)
  • Reply 20 of 45
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    crowley wrote: »
    That's absurd.  Apple do not charge the same amount for their products around the world in numerous other instances.  Apple offer giveaways and special deals in some countries and not other.  Apple do not top up the sales tax on all products to the maximum legally required in any one country for the sake of "fairness".  

    Bollocks it had anything to do with fairness.  Apple do not care about fairness across country borders.

    No, they do, but if you're not willing to consider current and predicted fluctuations in exchange rates, a VAT, import tariffs, HW and licensing fee requirements, or 3rd-party retailers in your assessment it's not surprising that you're understand what is going on.
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