Last week, Japanese blog Macotakara reported that Apple hosted its "Made For iPhone" (MFI) technology summit in Shenzen, China (translated version). The conference last week, including 2,000 accessory makers and OEMs, featured Apple's announcement of a new certification chip for MFI accessories and future support for AirPlay over Bluetooth 4.0.
Only 2 percent of the MFI-licensed peripherals on the market use the Bluetooth version of the iPod Accessory Protocol, according to the story, which was introduced in iOS 5. Apple plans to help manufacturers accelerate the development of compatible devices, and grow the AirPlay device ecosystem by 7x by promoting the MFI program.
Bluetooth 4.0 (or Bluetooth Smart) has optional lower power requirements that make it a better fit for always-on remote peripherals, but at the moment the only Apple mobile device that supports 4.0 is the iPhone 4S; Macs with the new Bluetooth stack include the current Mac mini and MacBook Air.
The Verge reports that the article may have been misinterpreted from the original Japanese; the site's sources say that AirPlay is not headed for Bluetooth 4, but will remain a WiFi-only connection for now. The process of authenticating and linking an AirPlay device, however, may get easier; 9to5Mac's Seth Weintraub points to the Bluetooth 3.0 HS+ spec, which uses a hybrid of Bluetooth for negotiation and a colocated 802.11 (WiFi) connection for bandwidth up to 24 Mbit, more than adequate for music streaming.