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iPhone 4S Features Bluetooth 4.0, Compensates for Absence of NFC

Among the new upgrades found on the iPhone 4S is the integration of Bluetooth 4.0, making it the first smartphone to come with the new enhanced standard.

The new feature which has similarities to Near Field Communication technology, was first sported in the MacBook Air and allows for much lower-energy communication between devices than previous versions. This enables device makers to use the widely used standard in place of proprietary sensor technology.

According to Mike Foley, Executive Director of Bluetooth SIG, the latest standard "enables an entirely new class of product into the Bluetooth world," CNet reports.

The implications are endless: devices with geo-location capabilities integrated in the buildings could for instance guide visitors; Casio for instance already uses the technology to allow watches to communicate with smartphones; making payments with your mobile is another possibility (trespassing on the territory of NFC).

While Bluetooth 4.0 is backward-compatible with previous versions, there are not many Bluetooth 4.0 devices out there to make use of the new technology yet. More BT 4.0 compatible products should be introduced towards the end of the year, with Apple's inclusion of the standard in its latest smartphone likely to encourage a much quicker uptake.

We predicted back in July that the new iPhone might have Bluetooth 4.0 rather than NFC. It remains to be seen which of these two features will really take off over the next few years.