UK retailer claims Bluetooth iPod imminent

Accessory after the fact

Is there a Bluetooth-equipped iPod on the way? UK girls'n'gadgets magazine Stuff certainly thinks so, based on a conversation it's had with an unnamed British retailer. If Apple's telling retailers to prepare for such a product, it can't be far off launching the thing.

CEO Steve Jobs has, of course, been sceptical about such a device, claiming it adds one more battery - the one in the headphones - users have to remember to keep charged. Then again, he's expressed scepticism about not only Flash-based music players but also devices that play video too, and Apple has nonetheless released iPods with Flash and with video playback.

What's made a Bluetooth iPod likely is iPod chip maker PortalPlayer's announcement it plans to integrate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi circuitry into its media processors, as Reg Hardware was first to reveal, in February. The move comes courtesy of a tie-in with UK-based Bluetooth chip design pioneer CSR, aka Cambridge Silicon Radio.

A variety of accessory manufacturers already offer Bluetooth stereo audio add-ons for the iPod and other MP3 players, though all of them require a transmitter that clips onto the music machine. Bluetooth 1.2's A2DP extension handles the transmission of stereo data across the ether.

The downside is you need bulky headphones that incorporate their own battery. That's fine if you like that kind of thing, but less satisfying for listeners who prefer compact, lightweight earphones. We hope Apple doesn't cut costs by dropping the 3.5mm earphone socket.

logitech wireless music system for iPod

Of course, Stuff's retail source could simply have his wires crossed, and be thinking of one of the many Bluetooth iPod accessories coming to market. We shall see... ®

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