Apple to add Bluetooth to iPods, car audio device to follow?

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple will soon introduce an iPod with Bluetooth wireless capabilities, according Bogdan Nedelcou, an automobile product manager for Motorola.

In an interview with Radio France, Nedelcou let it slip that consumers will soon be able to broadcast music wirelessly from their iPod through their car speakers. Similarly, he said that users will be able to answer incoming phone calls without having to operate their mobile phone handset.

Both tips apparently reference an upcoming device for automobiles, which will include a dock or 'pod' that will allow both an iPod with Bluetooth and a mobile phone device to communicate with car stereos. It's unclear if the device is Apple or Motorola-based.

According to a description provided by Nedelcou, when a Bluetooth phone receives a call, the device will switch the automobile's audio stream from the iPod's music over to the phone's audio feed. A hands-free Bluetooth accessory will reportedly handle outgoing communication.

In November, AppleInsider was first to report on a patent filing that provides incontrovertible evidence that Apple has been experimenting with wireless iPods.

"One aspect of the media player system pertains to a docking station that allows a media player to communicate with other media devices," the filing said. "Another aspect of the media player system pertains to a wireless media player system that includes a hand held media player capable of transmitting information over a wireless connection and one or more media devices capable of receiving information over the wireless connection."

Apple filed for the patent, which includes imagery, on April 25, 2003. The document credits the technology to Anthony Fadell, Stephen Zadesky, and John Benjamin.

Last year AppleInsider also noted that the company was seeking new members for its iPod hardware engineering division that have experience in integrating both various wireless communication technologies as well as video.

In the near future, Motorola is also expected to debut its first 'official' iTunes-ready mobile phone, which will sport both flash-based memory storage and Bluetooth wireless connectivity.


  • Reply 1 of 20
    pmjoepmjoe Posts: 565member
    So, does the Bluetooth support streaming to multiple devices at the same time? I'm assuming this uses the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP).
  • Reply 2 of 20
    I have a hard time seeing the advantage:

    - Most car stereos do not support Bluetooth, plus

    - the iPod (phone) will need a power connection when transmitting continously via BT, and

    - according to the text, the device will be connected to a cradle/"Pod" anyways.

    Why don't they use BT transmission?
  • Reply 3 of 20
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member
    I've not heard the interview, but it could well be the case that this refers not to an iPod but to a Motorola peripheral that fits on the top or bottom of the iPod.

    That's what I'd do.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    This story seems a bit confused to me.

    IMHO, all this is, is Motorola coming out with a permanently wired in iPod dock which has a car audio connector, power connector and bluetooth support so that the car stereo switches to the phone on incoming calls. Otherwise they'd have to add a bluetooth module to the car and somehow connect that to the stereo and another bluetooth adaptor to the iPod. Then you've also got a power connector for the iPod. May as well put them all together, hide it under the dash and save the accessory socket for the phone charger.

    Apple could add bluetooth I guess but I've got Bluetooth on my SE P910i phone and it takes literally hours to transfer songs to it's 512KB card. Bluetooth rarely gets more than 20KB/s when transferring songs so all those people thinking they can wirelessly sync iTunes with a Bluetooth iPod are barking up the wrong tree. It's painfully slow.

    Now, 802.11g in a car and in an iPod, that would be useful. Add an 802.11g adaptor to the iPod and a 12v version of the Airport Express base station. Then tweak iTunes so that you can sync your iPod over 802.11g. Park the car close enough to your Mac at home and sync up.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    rolorolo Posts: 686member
    Bluetooth 2.0 has a bandwidth up to 10Mbps or 1.25MB/s. That's nearly the speed of the first AirPort spec, 802.11b, which was 11Mbps. At that speed, most songs would download in about 3 seconds. Bluetooth 2.0 is also capable of transmitting video, even HD video, for real time streaming in the home.

    The new Bluetooth spec also consumes half the power.

    [Edit: Apple claims 3Mbps for its BT 2.0 implementation. I got the 10Mbps from: this page .]
  • Reply 6 of 20
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,142member

    Originally posted by Rolo

    Bluetooth 2.0 has a bandwidth up to 10Mbps or 1.25MB/s. That's nearly the speed of the first AirPort spec, 802.11b, which was 11Mbps. At that speed, most songs would download in about 3 seconds. Bluetooth 2.0 is also capable of transmitting video, even HD video, for real time streaming in the home.

    The new Bluetooth spec also consumes half the power.

    [Edit: Apple claims 3Mbps for its BT 2.0 implementation. I got the 10Mbps from: this page .]

    Taken from

    Bluetooth 2.0+EDR

    The new Apple PowerBook G4 portables are the first computers to offer Bluetooth 2.0+EDR. (Earlier aluminum and titanium PowerBook G4 models feature Bluetooth 1.x support.) Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, while still backwards-compatible with Bluetooth 1.x, is up to three times faster than its predecessors, offering a maximum data rate of 3Mbps. As the first company to certify a system supporting Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (enhanced data rate) specification with the Bluetooth Qualification Board, Apple continues to popularize Bluetooth technology. (1)

    While not fast enough for video for audio BT 2.0 should be fine.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Really? I thought Bluetooth 2.0 was 3Mb/s or 384KB/s. ie. about a third the speed of USB1.1.

    So even if you could transfer at 384KB/s that's 10-20 seconds per song. I suspect it'd be nearer a minute per song.

    Bluetooth 2.0 is also so new that nobody except new Powerbook owners will have it.

    Bluetooth 1.2 is 1Mb/s or 128KB/s in theory, however, as I said, transferring from my Mac to my SE p910i rarely gets more than about 20KB/s what with protocol overhead and presumably my phone may not be maxing out Bluetooth. My T610 was the slightly slower.

    It took me about 6 hours to transfer 4 albums worth overnight the one time I tried with Bluetooth 1.2 and my p910i. I bought a card reader before doing that again.

    802.11b is 11Mb/s so in theory a max of 1.4MB/s although pretty unlikely unless you're sat next to the router. USB1.1 kind of speeds are about possible.

    802.11g though at 54Mb/s theoretically is a lot better though and I'd reckon on that being about the minimum I'd be happy with for syncing.

    For streaming, Bluetooth 1.2 isn't even capable of streaming at 128KB/s although if Moto do it with 2.0 then it's possible.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    xoolxool Posts: 2,460member
    I doubt bluetooth would be used to move music and files back and forth. Instead it would be used as a wireless control and streaming platform. This way it can stream audio (like AirTunes) and allow bluetooth remote controls.

    Also, the iPod will connect and play automatically in your car the same way your phone can works automatically. Plus they'll coordinate, in car or out. You can sit in your office with your iPod in an iPod stereo across the room, and if your cell phone rings it can automatically pause the music.

    For transferring major amounts of files though, FireWire or USB 2.0 is the way to go.
  • Reply 9 of 20
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,073member
    Here is how I see the device working:

    1. It is a standard size chassis for fitting in a car - built out of the mac mini. Contains a FM tuner, so that it can replace the stereo pre-amp in your car.

    2. Numeric keypad with a few extra keys, iPod wheel, and display on faceplate. The keypad and iPod style controls give you control over all the pre-amp functions (dial phone number, volume, channel, etc).

    3. You plug the iPod to firewire in the glove box, like the BMW system.

    4. The bluetooth is for phone access only. The phone receives the call, and routes audio to and from the dashboard unit. Use of the keypad on the unit drives an outgoing call.

    5. Microphone wired in from A-pillar mounting point.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    If Moto are using Bluetooth for streaming, it better be Bluetooth 2.0. Also, Airtunes uses Apple's lossless codec for transmission which won't fit in to even Bluetooth 2.0 bandwidth.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    Not having a car, I'd be far more impressed with an ipod that has bluetooth and a microphone, and when you get an incoming call, the ipod stops playing music, tells you who's calling, lets you choose whether you anwser it or not, and then lets you talk using the ipod (so no messing around with changing wires, or unburying mobile, etc.)

    Were that to happen, I'd be very tempted to replace my existing ipod...
  • Reply 12 of 20
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,073member

    Originally posted by aegisdesign

    If Moto are using Bluetooth for streaming, it better be Bluetooth 2.0. Also, Airtunes uses Apple's lossless codec for transmission which won't fit in to even Bluetooth 2.0 bandwidth.

    I think that it will - even uncompressed PCM would fit (2 channel stereo = 1.4 mBit/sec, Bluetooth 2 = 3 mBit/sec). I worry more about battery life.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Bluetooth on an iPod seems like an incredibly illogical feature.

    Wireless transmission/reception will drain the battery. This means that the iPod will be teathered to a power cord. Once you've got a cord attached, why not send the audio signal over it as well?

    Now I'm sure fellow AIers will have no problems inventing use scenarios in which bluetooth would be a godsend. But for 99.9% of consumers, bluetooth would go unused.

    Bluetooth... maybe someday it'll be useful to consumers, maybe.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    If you take a look at the patent drawing, in the top right corner is a computer with an Airport.

    Airport does not support bluetooth.

    Since Airport, and thus WiFi, is Apple's premier wireless product offering, my guess is a WiFi iPod.

    It's a toss up really, but with WiFi, the potential to connect to the Internet, and thus iTMS, becomes possible.

    This would require iTunes to be a software component of iPods, but that is possible.

    The ultimate reality of this would be the ability to purchase music directly from the iPod, no computer required.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    i personally think someone got their wires crossed with the rumors and this is actually the as-of-yet-unannounced motorola itunes-compatible phone. someone probably saw the marketing materials, steve approved the design, so it probably looks enough like an apple in-house hardware design that someone made a mistake and now is saying the ipod will have bluetooth.

    i am in the market for a new phone, and i will not buy it until it has the apple seal of approval on it, because i want the friggin' thing to WORK CORRECTLY with iSync, iTunes and iCal out of the box. until that day, i don't trust these third parties any further than i can throw them to actually stay compatible and up-to-date.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    if wifi then what takes less power for the ipod, BT or wifi, and is a car an appropriate environment for wifi? Would you then use a mac mini with this, and what about security issues since everyone around your car can"see and access your network"

    a stereo adapter, BT then a hardwired ipod to this would be sweet. Apple, will steal the show if they can get an ELEGANT solution to having an ipod in the car. ipod will seal it's future for decades if it was the only one with a cool and user friendly (meaning no cords and remote access) mp3 player and simple quality connection to car and home. mp3 holy grail.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    After reading about the XLive XM-390 Bluetooth portable audio player over on Engadget, I think I know what this is all about:

    Wireless Headphones

    We all know that Steve has a thing against cords.

    So it's not about syncing, it's about wireless headphones.

    Any takers?
  • Reply 18 of 20

    Originally posted by FormatC2

    Any takers?

    Sounds good to me.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Hmm. Thinking aloud:

    If you put a Mac mini in a car and sync'd the iPod to its library, then suddenly Bluetooth would make a lot more sense. The iPod would simply become a remote control for the Mac. All it would need to transmit over Bluetooth is the id of the track or playlist to play, and the command.

    It could even do shuffle that way.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    tednditedndi Posts: 1,921member
    All of you are way off in my opinion. BT is a red herring.

    Zigbee!! baby!

    This is apples first step into the market with the ipod. Soon you will be able to do WAY more. WAY Way more!!

    note the partners....

    digging a little deeper...

    I bet if someone more savvy than myself would root about in the new powerbooks bluetooth 2 drivers or firmware we would have some answers.....

    just a Big hunch! That BLUETOOTH 2 IS ZIGBEE!!

    Here is some proof from the zigbee alliance pages

    Air interface ZigBee ? DSSS ? 11 chips/ symbol ? 62.5 K symbols/s ? 4 Bits/ symbol ? Peak Information Rate ~128 Kbit/second Bluetooth ? FHSS ? 1 M Symbol / second ? Peak Information Rate ~720 Kbit/ second

    So, zigbee has the capacity to stream up to `720kbit/ sec vs ~128 kbit/sec for bluetooth 1

    I hope I am right I hope I am right



    sorry for yelling I get excited sometimes.

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