Remember way back in 2004, when Verizon Wireless introduced Motorola's V710 with "crippled" Bluetooth? Headset pairing worked, but there were no file-transfer options and other extended features. People literally sued in protest. Well, as you probably know, the scales of justice never tipped. In the past three years, most Bluetooth phones sold by carriers in the US have been "crippled" in that sense, including the iPhone:
• It can't transfer files to a PC, or appear on a desktop for drag-and-drop file juggling.
• It can't send a photo to a Bluetooth printer.
• It can't stream audio via Bluetooth to a compatible speaker system or headset. (Video is out of the question.)
However, it can link with any Bluetooth headset on the market, including the Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset that will soon be at an Apple Store near you. Now that you're depressed about its lack of capability, want to hear what's cool?
When you make or receive a call and a Bluetooth headset is linked, the screen lets you route the call to the headset (where it's routed by default) or to the iPhone itself, or to the iPhone's speakerphone. This may seem like a silly little item, but anyone who has dealt with Bluetooth headsets for a while knows it can be a lifesaver: say a call is coming in, and you don't know where your headset is. Instead of driving off the road looking for it, you just tap "Speaker Phone." What about if you are getting out of your car, and want to leave the headset behind. Instead of powering down, and risking losing your call in the process, you just tap "Audio Source," select "iPhone" and get on your way.
I tested the iPhone with both the Aliph Jawbone headset and the Motorola S9, a pair of Bluetooth stereo headphones with microphone and call capability. Of course, music didn't play through the stereo headphones, but it could handle calls.
A single tap on the Moto or Jawbone headset main button is supposed to initiate speaker-independent voice recognition, and it does in a lot of really cheapo phones. On the iPhone, though, it does nothing, because the iPhone doesn't have voice dialing. A double-tap on the Jawbone (or a prolonged tap on the Moto) did initiate a "redial", however, even when the iPhone was totally dormant.
Not expecting much, I took the liberty of attempting to pair the phone with a Dell Windows Vista laptop. I was momentarily filled with hope when the laptop recognized the device, and even went through all of the stages of pairing. I was not surprised though when the whole exercise turned out to be moot: sure, the iPhone was paired, but it had no "services" to perform. Meanwhile, the iPhone screen simply showed that it was discoverable, nothing more. Feel free to browse the gallery below to see the process; maybe you'll spot a loophole that I could not. (The images are numbered, even if Flickr screws up the order.)