At its annual iPhone release event, dubbed this year as ‘Hey Siri,’ Apple announced the inclusion of the Bluetooth 4.2 standard in its latest and greatest round of hardware devices: the iPhone 6s, iPad Pro, and iPad mini 4.
What the Cupertino tech giant didn’t announce at the time, however, was that the standard would also make its way onto a selection of the company’s older hardware, such as the iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2, as well, through a firmware update shortly thereafter.
As can be seen in the product description screenshot above, the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 are listed as supporting the new Bluetooth 4.2 standard. However, it’s important to note that, prior to the September 9th event, the same pages dedicated to those three devices on Apple’s website did not reflect such a change, but rather, listed compatibility with Bluetooth 4.0, alone.
Interestingly enough, each of the above mentioned products retain its original model number, which suggests that Apple either modified the Bluetooth stack in iOS 9 or built in new chips, altogether, without changing product designators.
Apple has yet to clarify its exact course of action, however, the distinction is still an important one to make, seeing as how only newer hardware components are capable of taking advantage of certain Bluetooth 4.2 features — which include, among other things, a major increase in data transfer speeds.
As noted by AppleInsider, the newest Bluetooth 4.2 specification is best-suited for low-power consumption devices — especially those that are capable of connecting to the internet — due primarily to the fact that the new framework integrates the advanced IPv6/6LoWPAN Internet protocol. Which means compared to previous iterations of Bluetooth technology, version 4.2 boasts significant speed increases, higher efficiency, and improved security, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.