The Bluetooth SIG appears to be on the verge of releasing the next generation of the Bluetooth specification, dubbed Bluetooth 5. In an email sent to SIG members, Executive Director Mark Powell revealed that the Core Specification Working Group is currently finalizing the next release, and that on June 16 the SIG will formally announce it, marketed simply as “Bluetooth 5.” Powell adds that the new branding drops version and point numbers in marketing in order to simply communications. Powell goes on to explain some of the technical benefits of Bluetooth 5, confirming previous reports that it will “quadruple the range and double the speed” for lower-energy Bluetooth communications, and will also deliver new functionality for location-relevant information and navigation designed to provide increased support and simpler deployment of beacons and Bluetooth location-based services around the world. Full details are expected to be revealed during a media event in London on June 16.
The last major Bluetooth release, Bluetooth 4.0 was formalized in June of 2010, although it wasn’t until the iPhone 4S arrived in late 2011 that the technology came to Apple’s mobile devices. It’s likely that it will take a similar amount of time before Bluetooth 5 gains wide scale adoption, and it’s also important to note that it has traditionally not been possible to upgrade older hardware to newer Bluetooth specifications.