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Apple gains official say in Bluetooth’s future

Apple now has an official voice in the future development of Bluetooth, the wireless data exchange technology associated with laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.

Apple will join the likes of Ericsson, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Nokia as a ‘Promoter’ member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). This means the technology company will hold a continual seat on the SIG Board of Directors, and be given a vote in the technology’s future alongside the other Promoter members.

On paper, the move is highly logical and some will have questioned why it’s taken this long for Apple to be on the board. Bluetooth has been a part of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac product lines for years, and Apple, as one of the largest producers (not to mention the most valuable brand in the world) would be well placed in developing Bluetooth’s future.

Initially, Bluetooth became a popular technology to conduct wireless calls on a headset that communicated wirelessly with a user’s phone. However, nowadays Bluetooth is largely used for data exchange or synchronization. For Apple’s products, AirDrop uses Bluetooth in OS X Yosemite to transfer data between Macs, iPhones, and iPads, while Apple’s most recent product line Apple Watch also communicates with the iPhone via Bluetooth.

Bluetooth technology was invented by telecoms company Ericsson back in 1994, originally as a wireless alternative to physical data cables. These days the technology is managed by the Bluetooth SIG, which has over 25,000 members. However, the Promoter members, or board companies (of which there are ten), are the most powerful members.

The kind of decisions Apple will be involved in will shape future iterations of Bluetooth technology. This may concern things like security, privacy enhancements, and discovery details.