iPod touch Bluetooth audio support

Q: I’m told that with the new 3.0 update a second-generation iPod touch now supports Bluetooth. Is it possible to connect a Motorola h500? If so, how?

– Steve

A: The short answer is that most Bluetooth headsets made for cellular headset/handsfree audio are not compatible with the iPod touch.

Support for different Bluetooth devices and features is determined by the Bluetooth “profiles” that are available on the devices. A Bluetooth profile defines the capabilities of a device and how it communicates with other Bluetooth devices. For Bluetooth communication to occur between two devices, they must both support the same Bluetooth profile.

There are three Bluetooth profiles that are commonly used for Bluetooth audio communication. The first two, “Headset” and “Handsfree” are intended for two-way monaural audio between a headset device and a cellular phone, and is the profile most commonly used for cellular phones that provide Bluetooth support and for cellular phone Bluetooth headsets. The “A2DP” profile is designed to provide one-way stereo audio from your device to a set of earphones for the purpose of listening to music playback.

All models and previous firmware versions of the iPhone provide support for the Headset and Handsfree profiles for using a Bluetooth headset for phone calls. However, this capability was limited to phone-related audio; you could not stream your iPod playback, even monaurally, to a Bluetooth headset.

The iPhone 3.0 OS has added the A2DP profile to the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 2G, so that you can now associate an A2DP device with your iPhone or iPod to listen to your music and other audio playback. The catch, however, is that since the iPod touch does not have a iPhone and iPod touch: Supported Bluetooth profiles.

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