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iPhone Opens Up Bluetooth For Data 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the slowly-but-surly dept.
WildNahviss writes "Apple has loosened its tight grip on the iPhone and allowed a third party to develop a health device that exchanges data with the iPhone and their hardware. Is this the start of a trend for Apple that will relax constraints on non-audio Bluetooth use, or is this an exception? Does anyone know of any other devices for the iPhone that allows non-audio Bluetooth transmission of data?" Reader climenole points out an article about another health-sensor system, dubbed a "body area network," that is built to work with Android devices, but not via Bluetooth.
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iPhone Opens Up Bluetooth For Data

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  • by odies (1869886) * on Monday October 11, 2010 @05:49PM (#33863994)

    There is one really simple reason why Apple is now opening up their iPhone. They wont however do it fully, just a little bit. And the reason? Windows Mobile 7. From the announcement it looks like a real competitor for iPhone. You also aren't only capable of getting one kind of phone, you can get the one that suits you best.

    WM7 will also have the app store and by the looks of the announemenet, intuitive UI and great user interface. It basically has everything that is good in iPhone, but gives you more freedom in choosing the type of phone you want.

    If Apple doesn't start opening up things and let the kinds of Adobe and Flash on iPhone, people will move away to a superior platform. And by the looks of it, that is going to be WM7.

    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday October 11, 2010 @05:58PM (#33864074)

      How much did you make for that comment?

      WM7 will be stillborn, android already has any market share it would have had and RIM will keep the business market.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by odies (1869886) *

        None of those are what Windows Mobile 7 is trying to compete with. They're going after somewhere between iPhone and Android, which is a sweet spot. I agree however, I don't Android is going to take off anymore. Not the same way as iPhone and WM7 anyway.

        Even while Microsoft is now targeting more mainstream users it doesn't mean its not a good platform for business users. Integration with Office and other tools is great and WM7 doesn't have the childly feel that i associated with iPhone.

        For gamers there is Xb

        • by RingBus (1912660) on Monday October 11, 2010 @06:19PM (#33864268)

          It's like you have some bizarre version of Turrets Syndrome where instead of screaming obscenities you blurt out an endless stream of Microsoft marketing talking points.

        • by node 3 (115640) on Monday October 11, 2010 @07:56PM (#33865066)

          None of those are what Windows Mobile 7 is trying to compete with.

          Clearly, WM7 is going after the market hole left behind by Kin.

        • by gtall (79522)

          Sweet spot? Between iPhone and Android? The iPhone is geared toward consumers and Android toward business, at least if I read the reviews correctly. There's a sweet spot between consumers and business? Why would I want a phone integrated with Office? I'm somehow going to edit PPTs, .docs, and spreadsheets? Maybe you mean with the calendar? That's some integration you have there.

          You wish to port games between the Xbox360 and a phone?

          "This means it's going to be the game changer and has a really good possibil

          • by Americano (920576)

            Android is geared towards business?! How come every person with a corporate phone that I've ever met has a Blackberry?

            I think Android & iOS are pretty direct competitors in the consumer handset space, and both would love to make inroads in business, but they have to beat RIM at that game.

            None of which changes the idiocy of the point that the GP is trying to make; there's no 'sweet spot' between iOS and Android.

        • by sarkeizen (106737)
          None of those are what Windows Mobile 7 is trying to compete with They're going after somewhere between iPhone and Android, which is a sweet spot
          Doesn't "competition" require two parties? Leaving aside for the moment the ludicrous idea that MS doesn't want the money from current iPhone or Android users but rather on the seeming logical impossibility of the statement. Either MS is entering a market where there is no competition - in which case they are not "competing" with anyone. Or they are trying f
        • by Macka (9388)

          They're going after somewhere between iPhone and Android, which is a sweet spot

          What sweet spot? The iPhone and Android overlap, there's nothing in between. If there were and there was nothing in that space already, it would be dead zone.

        • by jDeepbeep (913892) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @08:06AM (#33868364)

          game changer.... market share

          BINGO!

        • by grub (11606)

          They're going after somewhere between iPhone and Android, which is a sweet spot

          WM7 will forever be known as "Windows Mobile Taint".

          .
      • by theolein (316044) on Monday October 11, 2010 @06:20PM (#33864286) Journal

        You know, not everyone who posts something that isn't mindlessly, absolutely pro-Apple/Steve Jobs/iPhone/iPad etc works for Microsoft.

        Some of them work for Google.

        • by tqk (413719)

          You know, not everyone who posts something that isn't mindlessly, absolutely pro-Apple/Steve Jobs/iPhone/iPad etc works for Microsoft.

          Some of them work for Google.

          Some of them aren't terribly fond of any of the above. Yeah, busted.

      • Probably as much as you did

    • Windows Mobile 7.

      This message brought to you by MS-Odies.

    • by rueger (210566)
      It basically has everything that is good

      Well, except cut and paste....
      • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Monday October 11, 2010 @06:34PM (#33864402)

        It basically has everything that is good

        Well, except cut and paste....

        [types in 'cut and paste' into Windows Phone 7 help screen]
        Hi! I'm Clippy! It looks like you would like to 'cut & paste', is that correct?
        [taps 'Yes']
        I'm sorry, Windows Phone 7, by Microsoft, doesn't support 'cut & paste' yet, would you like to 'cut & paste'?
        [taps 'Yes' again]
        [hourglass]
        Hi! I'm Bob! Where would you like to go today?
        [types in 'to get another phone']
        [hourglass]
        Hi! I'm Clippy! It looks like you would like to buy another Windows Phone 7, by Microsoft, is that correct?
        [taps 'No']
        [hourglass]
        Hi! I'm Bob! Would you like to buy a Kin, by Microsoft?

    • If I understand you, I could wait for a WM7 phone which has everything you mention, or I could just get it now in an Android phone.

      So why should I wait, and why should I trust Microsoft over Google? And, for that matter, why would Apple be afraid of Microsoft's vaporware, when they can be afraid of Google's reality?

      • by rahvin112 (446269)

        You should wait so you can be denied the ability to cut/paste.

        Android is the future, WP7 will be just as still born as Kin was. Well let me correct that, I doubt it will be as bad as kin, at best though it will sell as good as the palm pre with a modest early adopter then a steep falloff in demand. It's going to be either the 4th or 5th OS behind (not in any particular order) Android, iOS, Blackberry and maybe even Palm.

        It was a nice try though I will admit that, it would have been a game changer 3 years ag

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          You forgot Windows Mobile 6/6.5. Windows phone 7, like Windows 7/Vista, is facing huge competition from the fact that there are already millions of handsets out there with an operating system that many users are perfectly happy with. People don't necessarily have a need for the newest gadget. Just as many people are fine with Windows XP, because it runs on older, cheaper computers, there will be many of us who aren't running out to buy phones with 1 GHz processors in them, because we couldn't be bothered
          • by cheekyboy (598084)

            Who buys Rim, corps, or people who have not heard of iphones.
            Who buys nokia? Kids, buy those $29 to $79 phones, either being 2G (like c2), or some other old crap. But also millions of 3rd world customers who for them $29 could be one weeks spare cash.

            Who buys WinMob? those who got tricked into buying somethey thought looked like a Blackberry, or fancy nokia copy.

            Who would buy a beta phone as version 1.0.0.0.0 with who knows how many upgrades, or will they say, sorry cant upgrade to 1.1 as
            you have some wierd

      • Because they have five phones from HTC which are basically the same?

        http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/11/windows-phone-7-handsets-the-tale-of-the-tape/ [engadget.com]

        Oh, that's probably not a good reason to wait.

    • First WM7 gets Angry Birds, and it's all over.

    • by Gruturo (141223)

      You know, initially, going through your comment, I was like "wtf, why is this modded funny, idiot /. mods", but I kept reading and suddenly it was all clear

    • by Lanteran (1883836)
      Replace every WM7 in that comment with android, and you get a comment based a tiny bit more in reality.
    • by wall0159 (881759)

      You forgot the punchline:

      >> WM7 -- life without walls (TM) :-P

    • Apple routinely surveys their developers in the iOS program and Window Phone 7 isn't even a category for "other platforms" you can develop for. It's 15 minutes of questions that basically ask: "When do you plan to start developing for Android? What do you like about them? What can we do to make you happy?" The Android battle isn't even just Apple vs. Google anymore now that Amazon is planning an Android app store.

      Even so it could be the competition, but I'd put my money on the recent anti-trust investigatio

    • by Nursie (632944)

      I hope they're paying you well.

      I don't see windows mobile making a splash myself. Everyone and their grandmother now loves iPhones, and android has taken a lot of the geeks and the 'I don't like apple' types. Outside of the US of A Nokia still rule the roost.

      Good luck with that.

    • by beelsebob (529313)

      There's no opening up going on here. Apple's allowed this kind of thing for a very long time, there's a public API for doing it, it's called ExternalAccessory.framework.

      • by Amorya (741253)

        Vote parent up, 'tis true.

        Sadly it requires specific hardware (an authentication chip) inside the device, but I'd wager that's how this example was made.

    • by iinlane (948356)
      I thought the reason is that BodyMedia has an innovative product and a potential killer app at their hands. I would like to believe that even big companies are made of reasonable people (Ballmer is an exception not a rule).
    • by Macka (9388)

      From the announcement it looks like a real competitor for iPhone

      No multi-tasking, no cut and paste. And how many apps does it run? Applications sell smart phones, not operating systems.

    • Thanks, I started my morning laughing. Well done.
    • s/WM7/Android/g

      Seriously - Jobs suddenly realized that his Flash hatred had put him out on a limb and every single other mobile platform was going to support AIR within months. Already the Android market is awash with new games all developed using Flash and AIR. These things are actually cross platform - build once, deploy to WP7 (when AIR arrives, soon), Android, Blackberry ...

      Apple was facing losing it's premium position in the App market and seeing apps get developed first for all their competitors

  • Nothing new here. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Any Made-For-Ipod certified company can design gadgets that talk via bluetooth back to the iPhone. So nothing new here.

    • by EkriirkE (1075937)

      e.g. the Nike step thingy that's been there since basically v1 (?)

      • by lk (50892)

        Nike is not allowed to use the internal radio thingy (which is not bluetooth), even to connect to it's own nike+ sensor. The app which does that is developed by Apple and ships with the iOS - but it's so buggy, Nike went ahead and shipped another Nike+ app to the AppStore which uses the GPS + accelerometer as a pedometer.

    • I liked the iPod as a music player but the lack of audio bluetooth was always a source of confusion and a deal breaker for me. I swore off wired headphones when bluetooth came out. Why didn't Apple include built-in audio bt? Then I figured out that consumer convenience took a back seat to the lucrative license fees third parties paid Apple to make add-ons for the platform including plug-in bluetooth modules. I`ve been able to get exactly what I want and give nothing to Apple.
    • by keytoe (91531)

      No, you can't. You get the audio profiles only as a third party developer. Not even HID. This is indeed news.

  • They released autodetect APIs for wifi and bluetooth a long time ago. Their selling point was for ad hoc gaming connections, but this sounds like the same thing really...

  • IIRC, Apple announced that they would be opening the bluetooth stack up for devs as part of the iOS 3.0 release. A couple of minutes of lazy googling didn't find a reference, so again, IIRC.
    • Re:not so tight grip (Score:5, Informative)

      by jonwil (467024) on Monday October 11, 2010 @06:20PM (#33864290)

      They opened it up. But every bluetooth device you want to talk to has to be built from scratch with a special Apple hardware lock (just like the special hardware lock in dock connector devices)
      Wanna write (and put in the App Store) and app to talk to your LEGO Mindstorms NXT brick over Bluetooth from an iPhone? You can't because the NXT doesn't have the "Apple Approved" hardware lock.

      • by deman1985 (684265)
        I can attest to this. It has been "open" since iOS 3.0, with the caveat that all iPhone accessory devices have to include the Apple-provided authentication chip.
        • by Sockatume (732728)

          You mean, the "authentication chip" from the headphones that turned out to just be the controller for the remote and mic?

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        My understanding was that it was a non-standard protocol over bluetooth. I'm not sure how one is meant to implement a "hardware lock", whatever that is, over radio. It has to be software. Similarly there's nothing but licensing stopping you assembling a compliant dock connector accessory.

        • by jonwil (467024)

          My understanding is that as part of the "made for ipod" type program, you get the ability to buy (and put into your device" the special Apple hardware chips that will allow the iPhone/iPad/etc to recognise your accessory as valid (if your device doesnt have the chip, the handshake will fail and the phone wont recognise the device).

          Apple could easily add the same requirement for Bluetooth devices.

          • by hitmark (640295)

            Makes think of their "special" macbook air optical drive that was basically you bog standard usb optical drive with a custom firmware to pull a Apple handshake. Its because shit like that i forgo anything Apple.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      If only they would enable (essentially...) few of the more straightforward and basic bluetooth profiles - for example net access via BT; no, not what strikes people first when they hear "iPhone tethering" - would be nice to have iOS gaining access via BT and one of so called "feature phones." Which would suddenly make iPod Touch virtually as good as iPhone to quite a few people and for much better price. And why Apple won't do it.

      (yes, there's WiFi - but a phone working as such access point will typically d

      • by hitmark (640295)

        And then there is the extra utility of the obex related profiles vs trying to pull a file transfer over wifi. Even with ad-hoc one have to configure tcp/ip and some kind of transfer protocol that both parties can handle (ftp, http, smb, perhaps ssh, are likely candidates). With obex its basically a issue of pairing and send (or even just send, in the case of single files quote often).

        That Apple (and some carriers like Verizon) loves to neuter Bluetooth makes a whole lot of people, and tech bloggers, think t

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Though quite possibly it's more frustrating if you're used to full BT functionality in every handset on the market... (well, "every other" once iPhone arrived)

  • can now be used with iphone, which qualifies as non-audio uses!
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      Whoopee-T-freaking-DO! Apple is fast becoming a Mee-Too company. How about an SD card slot, or a wired Ethernet mini-jack, or an open app store, or an on-screen keyboard that does not suck? I guess not today. The iPhone is a unique, limited, and interesting product that many non-technical people are in love with. Dopes. It's just a wide-screen iPod with a shitty phone and camera shoved in. I'll keep my dumb phone, thanks.

      • Don't want: SD card slot, mini-ethernet (for a mobile phone?), unmoderated app store.

        Confused: on-screen keyboard that doesn't suck? The android one is basically the same as the iPhone one. What are you trying to say?

  • As was pointed out elsewhere, the iPhone can currently use a bluetooth connection for gaming.

    However, there are other device uses too - the TomTom iPhone car dock uses bluetooth to send improved GPS data (the dock has a stronger GPS receiver) to the iPhone. In theory at one point they were saying other applications could make use of it, but I'm not sure if anything came of that...

    The issue with bluetooth has more been the iPhone does not support some of the more popular bluetooth data profiles like file sh

  • Uhh, guys? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nathana (2525) * <nathan@anderson-net.com> on Monday October 11, 2010 @06:23PM (#33864330) Homepage

    This is a non-story, at least how it is written.

    As part of iPhoneOS (now iOS) 3.0, in June *2009*, Apple announced that hardware manufacturers would be able to have their hardware directly interface with their iPhoneOS applications, either through the dock connector OR through bluetooth. They have an official set of APIs built into the OS specifically to facilitate this.

    I think it was cool that they did this over a YEAR AGO, but hey, that story doesn't make for as sexy a headline as "OMG Apple suddenly loosening their Death Grip on their iPhone hardware?!?!?!"

    -- Nathan

    P.S. -- No Apple apologist here; in fact, I'm generally very critical of the locked-down nature of the iDevices. But come on...let's strive for accuracy here.

    • by MBCook (132727)

      I remember them opening the dock connector, I didn't know it applied to bluetooth also.

      Does anyone know of any other special purpose bluetooth devices that connect to the iPhone (i.e. not keyboards, headsets, etc)? Perhaps this is the first one to make it to market?

      Some of the disability related stuff the iPhone can do (such as bluetooth connection to a wireless pocket braille display) seems more interesting though. I wonder how well it's known just how accessible the iPhone is. I was quite impressed when

      • by Wingman 5 (551897)

        Nike+ works with the iPhone, but it works with all iPods really (But there are special things the app from nike can do on the touch and iPhone that it can't do on the other models)

    • Re:Uhh, guys? (Score:5, Informative)

      by daBass (56811) on Tuesday October 12, 2010 @03:32AM (#33867100)

      I am working with a hardware company on this. The main issue we are having is that the whole program is tailored to high-volume manufacturers; little guys like us are below the Apple radar.

      To apply for the program, you need to supply a lot of information, including company turn-over and a whole lot more that should be none of their business.

      Then to make it work, you must integrate a chip supplied by Apple that does the authentication. That's great if you are starting from scratch and intend to send millions of products. It's a pain if you already have a working design with thousands of devices out in the field with bluetooth, but not Apple's chip.

      That's what's stopped us from signing up and doing it. Luckily, in our business, people would be buying mostly tablet devices that are exclusively used for the purpose. Android here we come, which is a shame as iOS is a much nicer platform to create something that works well and looks good in very little time.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        So its not just a case of opening up for serial data over bluetooth, one need a special "handshake" chip at the other end?

        And people wonder why i have no love for Apple...

        • Well, people wanted a "trusted platform", and here's one of the issues with doing that. It appears Apple wants to authenticate devices that pair with iOS. No different from your Palladium or trusted computing, the schemes in place for your XBox (which is nothing more than a low-end PC with a TPC device) etc. But because it's Apple people are whining about it.
          • by hitmark (640295)

            Heh, i never liked the "trusted" (by who exactly?) computing thing so don't bunch me with whoever your talking about.

    • by Kolila (1260944)
      Correct - it has been possible to develop non-audio, non-HID Bluetooth products for the iPhone for over a year. However, until very recent releases of iOS (around 4.1 onwards), the iOS Bluetooth stack was too buggy to really be that usable for most such devices. The main thing holding back the development of these products now is, as others have pointed out, the difficulty of buying Apple's authentication chip. In order to get hold of these, you first need to prove to Apple that you are a serious volume p
  • ...I get more and more happy i decided (even forgetting about them being late with 3g support) against buying one, as nice as it is (me = happy user of a E71/E63; the E71 could do a lot of things in 2006 which the iphone seems to learn slowly because Apple teamed up with the providers to fuck the users as hard as possible - sorry transferring contacts, appointments, data by BT and connectign to any BT device i bought or ever tested *is* a mandatory feature; not to mention that the E71 could communicate with

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hitmark (640295)

      And much of that was available on the Sony Ericsson T610 i got back in 2003/2004 (a featurephone). Bluetooth on US sold phones have been raped by carriers for ages, and is one reason why Nokia is a virtual no show in that market (they refused to let the carriers neuter phone features like voip and bluetooth).

      And this is why i groan each time i read a US tech blog talking about mobile tech from a US == world perspective...

    • This is trusted computing. People wanted it, the industry pushed it hard, and now it's here. It's the same story you get with various other implementations of TPC.
    • by RMH101 (636144)
      My T68i did transfer of data/contacts etc by BT and IrDA years before that. Prior to that I was sending email by phone/IrDA/palm in the mid 90s, too.
      Are most US phones crippled deliberately?
  • TFA says: "Its health sensors will be one of the first devices, other than ear buds, that link to smartphones with Bluetooth short-range communications."

    I find this fascinating given that I've had an app in the Android Market, called Heart Rate Monitor, that has been around for almost a year and does just that. It talks via bluetooth data to a bluetooth heart rate chest strap. My app is just one of many that can talk to these bluetooth devices, called Zephyr HxM.

    I wonder if Apple will allow generic
  • All the better to eat you with my dear.
  • http://www.redpark.com/news.html [redpark.com]
    "connect an iPhone or iPod Touch to serial devices such as medical or scientific instrumentation, point of sale devices, industrial process control equipment, networking devices, and building automation equipment. The cable enables the attached device to communicate with an application running on the iPhone."
  • Slaves! (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by tqk (413719)

    Ho. Ly. Crap.

    You Apple buyers actually think this is reasonable behaviour on the part of a vendor, and you accept this sort of abuse, willingly?

    Care to explain why? Apple == ritual self-abuse, it seems. Are you people crazy?

    • It totally depends on the buyer whether this is acceptable or not. Not everyone can get worked up about this sort of behavior from a vendor. Some people just care about the basic workings.

      I personally don't give two shits. What I do care about though, is that my 2 year old iPhone 3G now is a very slow phone because of the updates. That got me thinking about not buying Apple phones again.

  • Yup, I had to say it.

    The Nokia N900 is a very open device.
    • Damn, beaten...

      So the iPhone doesn't allow Bluetooth keyboards? Or mice? Or DS3s? Or Wiimotes? Or notifier watches/bracelets? Or BT networking? Or BT OBEX/FTP? Or software that makes your phone emulate any of those devices?

      Poor iPhone-using bastards...

  • Perhaps someone will finally make a proper bluetooth remote that works with the PS3? I find it hilarious that Sony doesn't allow you to use BD Remote [apple.com] with the most popular Blu-ray player on the market.

  • Apple is ramping up a .edu tour with bluetooth enabled sensors that test stuff and send to i Pad and iPod for graphed data collection.
  • In response to the original article, the upcoming iControlPad [icontrolpad.com] (made by the developers of Pandora [pandorapress.net], no, not the radio) is bypassing the apple patent troll by making it controlled by bluetooth (Source [twitter.com]). Also don't buy one until I have bought one, limited supply demands that I'm first.
  • Gaawk (me choking on, well, opinions)... I am sure I am not the only one. That there are people interested is how Apple has implemented Bluetooth. For instance, I am rather sure HID [Human Interface Device] Bluetooth keyboards work w/iPods but SPP [Serial Port Protocol] Bluetooth keyboards (if there is such a thing) do not. While, I believe, SPP keyboards should work with RIM products. The Bluetooth keyboard I am using w/my iPod is 3rd party. Further, I would be very surprised if it had an Apple aut
  • by pgn674 (995941)

    The Nike shoe system transmits step information over Bluetooth, I believe. My iPod Touch 2nd generation came with an app from Apple called "Nike + iPod" that uses Bluetooth. The app can be enabled in Settings > Nike + iPod > On. There may also be a related Bluetooth remote out there to control music playing ( >|| , + , - , |<< , >>| ).

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