By: Gigaom
March 08, 2012 at 10:46 AM EST
Forget LTE — the real iPad wireless story is Bluetooth
Amid the various upgrades announced for Apple's new iPad was a hot new wireless technology. You might think I'm referring to the tablet's 4G LTE mobile broadband support, but I'm not. I'm talking about the far less sexy, but no less important, inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0.

Amid the various upgrades announced for Apple’s new iPad was a hot new wireless technology. You might think I’m referring to the tablet’s 4G LTE mobile broadband support, but I’m not. I’m talking about the far less sexy, but no less important, inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0, making iPad the first Bluetooth Smart Ready tablet.

Prior iPads and nearly all other tablets on the market today, save the Kindle Fire, offer Bluetooth support, but those have used the older Bluetooth 3.0 specification. The newer Bluetooth 4.0 technology brings improved power efficiency as well as expanded functionality; particularly when it comes to health-related gadgets and apps.

For example, I recently bought and reviewed the latest heart-rate monitor to hit the market; the Wahoo Blue HR. It works like any similar monitor available today, but thanks to its use of low-powered Bluetooth 4.0, the battery inside will last from one to two years.

Perhaps that’s not a big deal for something used a few times per week, but consider its importance with other computing accessories. The Bluetooth SIG says it best: “Not only will a consumer be able to buy an ultra-efficient Bluetooth Smart keyboard that won’t require a change of batteries for the life of their new iPad, they can also track the data that might be securely coming off of their many Bluetooth Smart devices through apps on their new iPad.”

That means no more fumbling with or carrying spare batteries to use when a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse dies; that’s important for people as they turn to tablets in the place of a traditional PC (subscription required). For Bluetooth headsets, this could mean recharges every few weeks instead of every day or two. Or, as I’ve alluded to recently, more people can use a growing number of mobile devices to track their health and provide a history to their doctors, as the Bluetooth SIG describes:

Diabetics can seamlessly and securely track their blood sugar levels from their Bluetooth-enabled glucose meter through an app on their new iPad. At their next visit, they can simply show a chart of their blood sugar levels over the past six months on their new iPad (in full HD) when the doctor asks how their readings have been since the last check-up.

When it comes to wireless capabilities on the new iPad, most will fixate on the fast mobile broadband speeds enabled by the 4G LTE support. But don’t count out Bluetooth 4.0 as a hot technology in the iPad. As more Bluetooth Smart gadgets hit the market, the new iPad is already prepared to take advantage of them.

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