The Future of Bluetooth

December 27, 2022

The Vergecast Bluetooth Holiday Spectacular was nerdy but had an interesting interview with the former Executive Director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. He provided context around how the bluetooth standard develops and what might come in the future.

Wearing AirPods in the Bar

One of the most interesting bits was when Dr. Foley suggested folks might go to a bar with three shows on different televisions, and you would pick which one to listen to with your bluetooth headphones. This has several advantages:

  • You only hear the television you want.
  • The sound is clearer since it is in your ear.
  • Less blaring background noise in the venue.

Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

Nilay Patel pointed out that many companies employ a strategy called: embrace, extend, and extinguish. This is where they take a standard, build new features on top of it, and then eventually try and kill the standard with their proprietary version. We have seen this attempted with web browsers, IM (Jabber), and now maybe bluetooth. However Dr. Foley thinks there are enough companies that want to create bluetooth accessories that this is not likely.

Still Waiting

Despite the promises of these advancements in 2020, the AirPods Pro 2 support Bluetooth 5.3 and lack any of the features or ideas expressed in the article. We can only wonder if they are stealth features waiting to be activated in a future update, or if Apple is purposely withholding them.

Go Deeper

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.