Changes to Apple’s published tech specs for various products are rare, but when they happen, they’re typically interesting — and under-the-radar. At some point following the September 9th announcement of the 2015 iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro and iPad mini 4, Apple quietly modified the tech specs and comparison pages for 2014’s iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Air 2 to bump them all from Bluetooth 4.0 to Bluetooth 4.2, the latest version of the increasingly popular wireless standard. While the sixth-generation iPod touch shipped with Bluetooth 4.2, the original iPad Air, iPad mini 2, and iPhone 5s all remain on Bluetooth 4.0.
Although it’s unclear whether a firmware update or changed hardware inside more recently manufactured iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 devices is responsible for the new Bluetooth 4.2 support, upgraded firmware might be the answer. In the past, Bluetooth 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 devices could not be upgraded to newer versions of the standard, but Bluetooth 4.0 devices were able to upgrade to Bluetooth 4.1 using product-specific software patches. Some reports have suggested, however, that Bluetooth 4.2’s speed and data capacity improvements would require new hardware, making Apple’s implementation somewhat curious.
We’ve reached out to Apple for additional details and will update this article when we receive them.