Apple has updated its operating system to include support for Bluetooth-enabled smartphones and peripherals.
It's a huge win for Apple users, who can now sync their Macintosh computers with the coolest new phones. The release notes for the newest revision of the OS, version 10.2.5, here, promise support for the P800 and Nokia's Series 60 phone, the 7650 [*]. I've been using the former with Mac OS X to transfer pictures and download games, but the release augers much richer support. Both phones mentioned are GPRS devices, allowing you to use the phone as a wireless modem without taking it out of your pocket.
We'll sound a cautious note, here, with the reminder that in order to synchronize calendar and contacts on the P800, you need an updated version of iSync software, and the two don't always march in lockstep. However, it surely can't be far behind.
Discovery of Microsoft Bluetooth keyboards and mice is also included in the hefty update, which Apple has yet to post on its website, but made available as a CD today.
Steve Jobs in particular, and Apple in general, are often lauded for pioneering technologies such as Firewire and Rendezvous.
But sometimes support for an emergent technology is just as important, and here Apple is surfing the crest of a wave. Microsoft's support for Bluetooth in Windows has been erratic, and now trails Apple significantly.
Interesting things Bluetooth Can Do
It's true that Bluetooth's growth, after being announced in 1998, has been accompanied by hype and over-expectation. But very interesting uses are starting to emerge for the wireless technology.
For example, Siemens has announced a cellphone which uses your landline connection when you're indoors, then flips to mobile when you are outside. That's thanks to what vendors are calling a 'PMG', or Personal Mobile Gateway.
We'll soon see "proximity servers" being introduced into social areas such as shops. These can push catalog information and enable shopping-by-phone when you're in the store. Or download program notes to your phone while you're in the opera lobby.
Meanwhile, let's not forget the Sony Ericsson Clicker, for the T68i phone. This is allows you to use the phone as a controller for iTunes and other Mac applications. Unlike regular infra red remotes, you don't have to point it at your Mac. The software "publishes" a menu to the phone, and is highly configurable: you can set it to raise the volume when you wander away from the Mac, for example.
Apple had added Applescripts for the Clicker on its website, so your phone becomes a general purpose remote for all kinds of action, such as fetching mail, or hiding your porn.
If you haven't seen this yet, beg a T68i-toting friend to show you the Clicker in action. We are not responsible for any embarrassment that may arise if your scripts don't work.
And then there's our whimsical idea of a Bluetooth-enabled iPod, which was very popular with Register readers. You could use it to share music on the bus, with a "What am I playing?" menu option.
Now there's something that Apple's lawyers can sink their teeth into: the RIAA's butt. ®
[*] Note for our States readers: the triband 3650, just launched in the USA, shares the same internals as the dual-band 7650, only with added expansion, and this cute retro-rotary dial. So it should work with the 3650 too.
Bootnote: Clicker author Jonas Sallinig politely pointed out that it's Clicker, not Controller, as we initially described it. Thanks Jonas.
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