Stereo Bluetooth – iPhone 3.0

Hands up if you have had your iPod earbuds ripped out of your ears when you are walking, running, working out, or trying to get something out of a pocket or bag? Hate it? Well this is worth a try.

In a great (and overdue) addition to the iPhone – 3.0 adds A2DP support for Bluetooth Stereo Headsets. This allows you to cut the cord on headphones for both Phone calls and Music. Having regularly worn through more headset cords than you really want to talk about … this is an great alternative.

A couple of cautions however. While A2DP is supported – which adds all audio playback to the phone call handsfree functions, it doesn’t seem to support AVRCP – which provides remote iPod control. In trying the iogear Stereo Bluetooth (~$40 London Drugs) with a 16G iPhone 3G there was no problem answering a call, listening to audio, play/pause and volume. However the skip forward and back buttons would not work.

The other challenge of Bluetooth playback is the fact it requires some processing. There is noticable skipping of audio when the phone is doing something that taxes the processor. For example listening to audio and running MotionX GPS caused pauses in the audio for the first 10 min as the application was capturing and refining its GPS data (wireless data was also active). Likewise, if you are surfing the Internet this can happen as well. So in cases where Bluetooth + 3g/Wifi + GPS are all functioning at the same time. You are likely to have audio issues.

So for the serious listener, the wired headsets will still provide the highest quality playback. But if you can stand a odd blip here and there to cut the cord – it has some great benefits.

Doing ‘Local’ right

The fact that the Internet can bring you information from around the world is both interesting and captivating. For example, there is this newspaper in Lawrence Kansas that probably most people outside of the immediate area would never have heard about. The noteable exception is a lecture recorded by IT Conversations. In his talk to Integrated Media Association New Media Summit (another thing most would have never heard about), Rob Curley spoke eloquently about how his local media has specialized in delivering his community to his community. The whole world can read these online resources but the audience is the population (all 88,000) of Lawrence Kansas.

So in a rather circular path, it brings you back to a worldwide resource providing local service. There have been massive dollars spent and huge conferences held to discuss the value of ‘local’. But it really still remains a promise not a reality. In Canada there was an ad campaign to ‘save local tv’ conducted by CTV globemedia yet the British Columbia section of the CTV news site provides about 8 BC stories wrapped in 50% of a page of advertising, international news, and links to a multitude of other sections. They should learn something from Lawrence, Kansas.