Peer-to-peer via bluetooth not supported on original iPhone

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 in iPhone, Opinions

No p2p for original iPhoneAn interesting factoid was revealed today via Apple’s Support pages on a comparison chart detailing support for 3.0 features, broken down by iPhone generations. Amongst other things, the chart includes this interesting footnote:

“The original iPhone does not support using Bluetooth for peer-to-peer connectivity. It can use Wi-Fi and cellular data networks for peer-to-peer connectivity.”

This struck me as interesting, as the original iPhone does support bluetooth. In fact, according to Apple’s specs page, it even supports the same Bluetooth 2.0+EDR standard that the iPhone 3G supports. But unlike the 3G model, p2p is a no-go on the old model. This isn’t a huge deal, as you can still do peer-to-peer connections over wifi and the cellular network, so there are still ways to use peer-to-peer with the older model.

Bluetooth peer-to-peer is obviously not supported by the original iPod touch (it didn’t have a Bluetooth chipset), but will be supported on the newer iPod touch 2g, as the 3.0 software fully enables that model’s “hidden” Bluetooth capabilities.

Since Apple has added a slew of other, more useful features to the original iPhone (copy and paste anyone?), this doesn’t strike me like the type of feature they would arbitrarily limit to the newer models to convince customers to upgrade. In fact, peer-to-peer will likely be one of the major attractions of upcoming iPhone games, which Apple has a financial interest in selling to as many customers as possible.

My guess is that implementing this feature on the older device’s chipset would require additional tinkering and engineering time, that Apple has decided is simply not worth it. Perhaps there are even a few technical hurdles that would have limited the feature in some way.

In any case, it’s something worth keeping in mind if you were considering adding peer-to-peer support to your iPhone applications.

(Sad iPhone image by Flickr user TenSafeFrogs)