A2DP – Bluetooth for the iPod touch explained

tips-tricks-bt-whatnowNot everything about 3.0 makes immediate sense. However, the great additions of spotlight, landscape mode and cut/copy/paste do. The addition of Bluetooth to the iPod touch in 3.0 is one of those interesting Apple decisions that makes sense, but not immediate sense. I became interested in the topic of A2DP support in OS 3.0 because of this thread at Apple’s Discussion forum. As the ‘baby iPhone’, the touch is really beginning to get its legs. Since 2007, it has been an excellent mid-fielder, but lately, I am inclined to put it forward a bit more. Bluetooth is a protocol that allows for wireless data transfer through specialised radio waves and now, with OS 3.0, even the touch gets that functionality. However, if you have tried to connect your OSX, *NIX or Windows computer to the iPod, you have probably been met with a ‘searching’ message that either never stops or error-exits to the springboard.

Unfortunately, owners of the iPhone 2G and first-generation touch are out of luck: this Bluetooth update affects only the 3G iPhone, 3GS iPhone and iPod touch 2G.


There is a good reason for that which is both frustrating and eye-opening. A2DP Bluetooth spec is for audio-pairing only. You cannot sync information other than the 1’s and 0’s that congeal in Matrix-like patterns to send audio signals to your Bluetooth headsets. Even with that said, your headset’s mic capabilities are nullified as A2DP in the Touch will support only the audio output, not input. A2DP, or Advanced Audio Distribution Profile spits signal to a receiving Bluetooth device like headphones or speakers. It is very handy as it allows acceptable audio quality without the tangle of cables. I have been using it on and off with my Sony 828 which I bought from Japan over a year ago.

While you get to go cables-free, there are really very few options high-quality A2DP headphones on the market. One of them is the Etymotic Ety8 which is on the pricey side and looks a bit ‘dangly’ to say the least. However, it offers isolation and typical Etymotic Research quality which is second to none. If you don’t have the 200-300$ to spend on a pair of earphones, there are many other A2DP receiving phones on the market that are of varying levels of quality. If you are an adventurous seeker of wireless music, take a look at the Cy-Fi Wireless sports speaker which is great for bicycling and camping (and which I use every ride).

However Bluetooth is still not the best way to enjoy your wireless music. Integrated Bluetooth transmitters are convenient as they don’t require extra dongles or transmission units, but their overall bandwidth and transmission method isn’t quite ideal. If any of you have heard of Kleer Wireless, you are probably more versed with a true quality wireless audio signal.

If you are interested in iPhone OS 3.0, check below:

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