Apple last week released Bluetooth 1.5, which enables owners of Bluetooth headsets and Bluetooth printer adapters to use them directly with their Macintosh. Bluetooth 1.5 is available via Software Update and as an 8 MB standalone download.
With the addition of the iChat AV 2.1 beta released the same day, you can use iChat with a Bluetooth wireless headset that’s normally used as a microphone and earphone for a cell phone, such as the Jabra FreeSpeak. You can also use set a headset for your microphone input and speaker output in the Sound preference pane. However, since Bluetooth headset batteries offer only two hours or so of active talk time from a full charge, more intermittent use is likely.
Bluetooth headsets are designed for poor cell phone conditions, so they typically provide superb noise and echo cancellation and incorporate high-quality microphones, which could make iChat AV audio and audio/video chats substantially clearer.
Bluetooth 1.5’s printer support lets a Mac print to output devices equipped with built-in or adapter-added Bluetooth. Although Wi-Fi is more popular for networking printers, Bluetooth requires less coordination to associate quickly with a printer.
For headset support, you need the latest firmware – version 1.0.2 – installed on your Bluetooth adapter. This firmware installs in all adapters Apple has offered directly, including its built-in and D-Link USB adapters, except the very first USB model shipped by Apple way back in April 2002. Surprisingly, some recent Macs with built-in Bluetooth – such as the 15-inch PowerBook G4 (15-inch FW 800) – also need to be updated, so if you’re not seeing results after upgrading to Bluetooth 1.5, you may need the firmware update.