Apple’s launch of Mac OS X Leopard today came with one more thing that wasn’t expected to make it into the final release. We can confirm that Mac OS 10.5 will ship with fully working Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP) support.
Apple’s affairs with Stereo Bluetooth have been murky for years. Since Apple began shipping systems with built-in Bluetooth, it was believed that Mac has always maintained hardware support for Stereo Bluetooth. Apple’s iPhone was considered to be their first entry into the Stereo Bluetooth arena, but its embedded version of Mac OS X Leopard lacked any support for A2DP. This appears to have been justified by iPod touch lacking Bluetooth completely, and Apple has maintained a strategy of ensuring Stereo Bluetooth would not launch until iPod could support it.
While rumors of Stereo Bluetooth in Leopard on the Mac were absent for years, Leopard was expected to lack Stereo Bluetooth due to the lack of it on iPhone and iPod touch. Furthermore, beta and developer releases also lacked Stereo Bluetooth. However, the final version shipping today does indeed support it.
We do caution that the support does have several bugs, such as dropped connections and trouble establishing a connection, as well as maintaining issues while silent. However, it now appears only a matter of time before Apple, iPhone, and iPod step into the 21st century, as the rest of the industry’s Bluetooth-enabled music devices have already.