Bluetooth 5 goes official with 2x speed, 4x range and other new features

By , Jun 17, 2016

Bluetooth 5 logo horizontal black lettering

As promised, Bluetooth Special Interest Group (BSIG), the organization that develops the ubiquitous short-range networking standard, of which Apple is a promoting member with voting rights, yesterday announced Bluetooth 5 at a press event in London.

Promising double the speed and four times the range of the current Bluetooth 4.x implementation, Bluetooth 5 is coming late-2016 to early-2017, BSIG said.

Bluetooth 5: faster and better everything

In addition to the significantly increased range and increased speed, Bluetooth 5 provides eight times the connections. And thanks to much richer and more intelligent broadcast messaging, many Bluetooth 5 devices will no longer require manual pairing.

This new connectionless model will be of particular importance for various Internet of Things devices, beacons and location-relevant information and navigation services.

Bluetooth 5 achieves all this without increasing energy consumption.

What’s in it for you?

Apple’s devices currently come outfitted with the most recent chipsets that provide low-enregy Bluetooth 4.2 networking. You may be wondering how Bluetooth 5 will improve your experience.

Well, for starters higher speeds will result in devices spending less time sending and receiving data. In turn, this should enable lower power consumption and better responsiveness for Bluetooth 5 hardware.

Quadrupling Bluetooth’s operation range will enable connections to devices that extend far beyond the walls of a typical home.

And with the ability to broadcast a much richer set of information, Bluetooth 5 will make “beacons, location awareness and other connectionless services an even more relevant part of an effortless and seamless Internet of Things experience,” said Mark Powell, executive director of BSIG.

An ABI Research survey predicted that more than 371 million Bluetooth-enabled beacons will ship by year 2020. BSIG also said that there are 8.2 billion Bluetooth products in use today. More than 30,000 member companies have committed to building Bluetooth devices.

Source: BSIG

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  • Bill

    I wonder what impact this will have regarding privacy. Might have to turn off bluetooth when out and about.

  • 9to5Slavery

    Music streaming still won’t match the bandwidth of wifi. Would be worth it if it had a built in sonos like software to identify each product for streaming in the future. “Group play and sync”

    • Tim

      Bluetooth 4.2 theoretical date rate is about 2.1Mbps of which Bluetooth 5 doubles that. You can stream a megabyte of data every 2 seconds with Bluetooth 5. I doubt your 3min songs are over 90mb in average. With this new standard there shouldn’t be any degradation in audio quality.

  • Eric

    Is Bluetooth 5 a software or hardware upgrade?

    • Louis Cameron

      Hardware most likely. Some components could be pushed via firmware update, but to get all updates you’ll likely need new hardware.

    • It’s a hardware update, unlike BT4.0 → BT 4.x

  • Late 2016 early 2017? I hope that the new auto sign in feature between Watch OS 3 and MacOS Sierra doesn’t require this. I wouldn’t be able to afford a new watch, laptop and iPhone.

    Although on the plus side… if it did, that would mean a new watch hardware upgrade is coming.

  • jmember12

    Hopefully the iphone 7 comes with it

    • Juschan

      i dont think so that would mean it already had to be published since iphone 7 planning should be completed now

      • Legend

        Just like when apple announces new software features, they have developers whom already have apps made to demo the new features… I’m pretty sure when apple whom has a large enough investment in the company to obtain voting rights would get stuff a little early 😉 don’t you think?

        Just like apple allows select developers into undercover upcoming features to demo at launch, I’m sure they had the new BT5 test chip a long time ago.

  • Sleetui

    Wireless earphones here we come.

    • sg1969

      yes, it will be interesting to see if the added capacity in BT5 will have a significant impact on sound quality when using wireless headphones.

      • Sleetui

        I’m hoping for some high-end wireless earphones from B&W etc instead of Apple crap. That’d be amazing.

  • Himanshu Oberoi

    The author spelled ‘Energy’ wrong under “What’s in it for you” section.