From its Worldwide Developers Conference last week, Apple announced unprecedented integration of Bluetooth technology into its operating systems – a move that sets the bar for Bluetooth integration and benefits developers by simplifying the creation of apps and products relying on Bluetooth connectivity. Apple revealed iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks will natively support the latest version of the Human Interface Device (HID) profile for Bluetooth Smart, Air Drop, which uses Bluetooth Smart technology to securely discover and connect devices for file sharing, and its Application State Preservation and Restoration services and Apple Notification Center Service for Bluetooth Smart accessories. These updates show Apples commitment to building an OS for its developers that works seamlessly with Bluetooth Smart, giving them the freedom to focus on the design and functionality of their app rather than device integration and plumbing.
“Apple recognized early that Bluetooth Smart is a game changing technology not only for Bluetooth, but for the entire wireless industry,” says Suke Jawanda, Bluetooth SIG CMO. “Since the introduction of the iPhone 4s in 2011, Apple methodically turned almost every one of their devices into Bluetooth Smart Ready hubs. These are ready to connect with the over 250 million Bluetooth Smart appcessories shipping in 2013 and nearly a billion expected to ship in 2016. Apple’s initial support of Bluetooth Smart Ready gave developers the confidence to build innovative Bluetooth appcessories like the FitBit Flex and UniKey Kevo lock system, and really kick started the entire appcessory market. The updates announced this week represents a significant time and resource investment by Apple to ensure its developers have the easiest path to deliver real innovation to their customers using Bluetooth Smart technology.”
Apple highlighted the benefits of its updates in five main categories: Healthcare, Sports and Fitness, Security, Entertainment, and Proximity. The adoption of HID and Alert Notification Services will immediately benefit developers in the Security, Entertainment, and Proximity markets. For Security, Apple called attention to partner companies like UniKey, Lockitron, and August for the work they are currently doing with Bluetooth Smart. A native implementation of the latest HID profile means consumers can expect ultra-power efficient Bluetooth Smart game controllers and keyboards to last years without changing batteries.
The inclusion of Application State Preservation and Restoration services makes it possible for developers to create apps that reliably run in the background, exchanging data with Bluetooth Smart peripherals without the need for user intervention. This enables a Bluetooth Smart device like a wearable health monitor to send data to an application on an iPhone or iPad without the user having to press any buttons or open up the application.
“The ultimate winner here is the consumer, whose Bluetooth Smart products for Apple will just work,” Jawanda notes. “By investing in deep Bluetooth integration, Apple made it that much easier for its developers to create great Bluetooth Smart products to connect with Apple devices. They are free to innovate without worrying about how to implement the plumbing of the code. Its an easier and better experience for the developer who can focus more of their attention to creating true innovation for their customers. Everyone wins.”
The Bluetooth SIG has launched a Bluetooth developer enablement initiative which includes a web portal featuring a community forum, training tools, and other resources to make designing with Bluetooth easier and faster. The Bluetooth Quick Start Kit serves as an introduction to Bluetooth Smart technology. For the Apple app developers, the Bluetooth Application Accelerator will provide detailed implementation and developer guidelines which speed time-to-market for appcessory devices. Visit developer.bluetooth.org for details.
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