Bluetooth 5 has now been published. It’s backwards compatible with previous standards. The new standard is a 2800 page manual for device developers.
Bluetooth operates at frequencies between 2402 and 2480 MHz. Guard bands 2 MHz wide at the bottom end and 3.5 MHz wide at the top extend the range.
Speeds are now 2x faster. Range has also been extended to approximately 200m under ideal circumstances. Packet size is also 4x larger.
Longer range powers whole home and building coverage, for more robust and reliable connections. Higher speed enables more responsive, high-performance devices. Increased broadcast message size increases the data sent for improved and more context relevant solutions.
Most use Bluetooth for mobile devices such as sync etc. Many peripherals support Bluetooth. Mobile phones and tablets support Bluetooth.
The usual buzzwords such as internet of things (IoT) etc are being used in media. For example, Bluetooth has become essential for connecting your fitness tracker to your phone or your wireless keyboard to your PC.
Bluetooth speakers and earbuds are using an earlier high power mode. An update to the standard for audio is expected in 2018 which will provide more improvements. Another Bluetooth improvement in the works is mesh networking, which will extend Bluetooth range by letting devices cooperate.
It will likely be 6-12 months before new generation devices with Bluetooth 5 find their way into the market. Existing hardware will continue to work as before without problems. The new standard is largely deals with problems as reported in the media.