Apple may be planning to add Bluetooth 4.0 support to their AirPlay protocol, making it easier for manufacturers to create Bluetooth-based accessories for iOS devices.
According to Japanese blog Macotakara, Apple recently held a “Made For iPod” conference in Shenzhen China, in which the company revealed that they were planning to introduce a new certification chip for their MFI program to encourage the manufacture of more iOS accessories.
The new chip would allow products to access iOS devices over AirPlay via both Bluetooth and Wifi. This would effectively loosen restrictions for devices such as the iCade, which currently uses bluetooth keyboard emulation since Apple will not allow direct Bluetooth connections.
Bluetooth 4.0, due to its low power consumption and higher quality audio and video signals, is a very attractive option for transferring data as compared to WiFi, which would use significantly more power to achieve the same purpose.
As a result, we may soon see AirPlay-compatible speakers, and other devices intended to stream media, powered by Bluetooth 4.0, rather that WiFi, which Apple has used exclusively in the past for AirPlay streaming.
Apple has been fairly aggressively promoting the use of Bluetooth 4.0 by adding it to all of their new devices, including the iPhone 4S, which could bring a number of new Bluetooth-enabled devices to the market.