During the recent media hype surrounding the release of the new Apple iPad, one feature that was mentioned but played second fiddle was the tablet’s support for Bluetooth 4.0 “Smart Ready” connectivity.
This technology, which I covered in a previous article, is where the Bluetooth infrastructure can implement sensor / control devices that work on low-power-drain requirements by reducing the need to transmit frequently. They are typically pitched at the health-care and fitness market in the form of heart-rate monitors, blood glucose meters, personnel scales and the like as well as “smart watches”; and would typically be expected to work with the “Bluetooth Smart-Ready” smartphones rather than a tablet device.
But I would still view the Bluetooth Smart Ready integration for the iPad as very relevant to its form factor. In the health context, the larger screen would benefit a “spot-measuring” device like a sphygmomanometer (blood-pressure meter), thermometer or scales when used with an app that keeps records of the measurements. Here, it could be feasible to see a table or chart of previous measurements alongside the current measurement so you can make a comparative assessment against the previous observations.
The automotive application class would also benefit from Bluetooth 4.0 implemented on a tablet, especially in the context of people engaging in DIY car maintenance and tuning (read “petrolheads” / “gearheads” / “boy-racers”). Here, Bluetooth 4.0 could interlink devices like a tachometer / dwell meter to a tablet that acts as a large-screen display for these devices when you are tuning that car for performance.
It may also benefit the so-called “app-cessory” concept market where the tablets become control surfaces for appliances, but this would not really need to specifically use Bluetooth 4.0 if the appliance needs constant power to work, because of it benefiting from that constant power.
But there are some applications that need power to provide local needs on a spontaneous basis. These exist primarily in the security / safety product class and represent devices like electromechanical locks or safe locking systems. They can benefit from a Bluetooth 4.0 tablet being a service / programming terminal or even utilising the notification functions in the tablets to signal events and situations.
What really needs to happen is that the next Apple iPad with its Bluetooth 4.0 subsystem and the next generation of Bluetooth 4.0-equipped tablets be a chance to exploit the large screen of the tablets to take the abilities of Bluetooth Smart Devices further.
Similarly, if an idea does not justify the software existing in the iTunes App Store or similar app stores, I would support the ability to “sideload” the app This is where the software is delivered to the customer by physical media or the manufacturer’s own Website then the customer uploads it using a program like iTunes. There could be an authenticated-software measure to verify the authenticity of the code and protect against malware distribution, but this concept of “sideloading” under the developer’s and consumer’s control may not wash with Apple and their fanbois.