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Apple to increase Bluetooth integration in iOS 7, OS X Mavericks

Bluetooth enhancements are among the big changes to be found in the next versions of iOS and OS X, according to a Bluetooth trade group. Unveiled at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 Mavericks will, among other things, allow Bluetooth-connected devices to use Notification Center. The changes are part of an "unprecedented" effort to more fully integrate the wireless technology into the Apple ecosystem and accessories such as game controllers, keyboards, and wearable health monitors.

Bluetooth SIG, a trade group of more than 18,000 companies that work with the short-range wireless technology, pointed out the development in a blog post and press release.

"This sets the table for some incredible innovation developers can bring to market," Bluetooth SIG's Suke Jawanda wrote in the blog post. "For example, my favorite sports app will seamlessly push an alert to my Bluetooth Smart watch every time my beloved Seattle Seahawks score a touchdown." That means less time spent checking one's phone for updates, Jawanda said.

OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 will include other Bluetooth-related enhancements, as well:

  • Native support for Human Interface Devices such as keyboards, mice, and game controllers. That support could help such devices go years between battery changes.
  • Air Drop support to help your Mac or iOS device more easily discover and connect to nearby Bluetooth devices.
  • The inclusion of Application State Preservation and Restoration services, which makes it easier for Bluetooth-using apps to run in the background--a feature that could, for example, let a health-monitor accessory regularly transmit info to your iPhone without requiring you to periodically open an app on the device.

Of course, Apple isn't the only company improving its support for Bluetooth technologies: Google announced similar plans at its I/O developer gathering in May, and Jawanda made clear he expects to see similar changes announced at the Microsoft Build conference later this month.

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