2020 iPad Pro May Not Have a U1 Ultra Wideband Chip After All

While it was previously reported that all 2020 iPad Pro models feature the same Apple-designed U1 chip as the iPhone 11 lineup, enabling Ultra Wideband support, we have compiled evidence to suggest that this may not be the case.


As a reminder, Apple's tech specs for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro list an Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness, but the chip is not mentioned in Apple's tech specs for the new iPad Pro. Apple also did not mention the new iPad Pro featuring the U1 chip in its press release or in any other marketing materials for the device.

Beyond that, the directional AirDrop feature that the U1 chip enables on iPhone 11 models is not present on the new iPad Pro running iPadOS 13.4. Likewise, the Ultra Wideband toggle switch that Apple added to iPhones in iOS 13.3.1 is not present on the new iPad Pro.

While all of this could suggest that Apple has simply disabled the U1 chip in the new iPad Pro until it becomes more useful, such as when Apple releases its rumored AirTags item tracking tags, more evidence suggests otherwise.

Earlier this week, the teardown experts at iFixit informed us that they had yet to find physical evidence of the U1 chip in the new iPad Pro. However, iFixit did note that it had yet to remove RF shielding from the logic board to confirm this.

The biggest clue of all is that FCC filings for all iPhone 11 models list operating frequencies in the 6GHz range and the 7-8GHz range, and the rules for these frequencies points to "Subpart F — Ultra-Wideband Operation." TechInsights last year reported that the U1 chip in iPhone 11 models transmits on two different frequencies, 6.24GHz and 8.23GHz.

By comparison, FCC filings indicate that all 2020 iPad Pro models operate within a max frequency range of 5GHz for Wi-Fi.

All of this presents a pretty solid case that the new iPad Pro might not have a U1 chip after all, but we have yet to confirm this without a doubt. When published, iFixit's full teardown of the new iPad Pro should provide a definitive answer.
Related Roundup: iPad Pro

This article, "2020 iPad Pro May Not Have a U1 Ultra Wideband Chip After All" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Android Smartphones Expected to Follow iPhone With Ultra Wideband Technology Starting Later This Year

Following in the footsteps of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, the first Android smartphones with Ultra Wideband technology will be released starting later in 2020, according to Barclays analysts.

In a research note obtained by MacRumors, the analysts said Android smartphones will be equipped with an all-in-one Ultra Wideband, NFC, and Secure Element chip introduced by Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors last year. It is unclear which Android smartphones will adopt Ultra Wideband first, but Samsung did join a consortium with NXP last year to help develop the technology.

iPhone 11 lineup features Ultra Wideband technology

In a press release last year, NXP said Ultra Wideband will give mobile devices several new and interesting capabilities, such as being able to unlock a car's doors when the device comes in close proximity of the vehicle, potentially foreshadowing a feature that could come to the iPhone down the road.

"With the SR100T, mobile devices will be able to communicate with connected doors, points of entry, and cars to open them once approaching," said NXP in a press release. "Lights, audio speakers, and any other connected device with UWB sensing capability will be able to follow users from one room to another, and smart connected technology will intuitively be embedded in people's lives."

iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max models are equipped with an Apple-designed U1 chip with Ultra Wideband, allowing the devices to understand their precise location relative to other nearby U1‑equipped Apple devices. On iOS 13, for example, there is a directional AirDrop feature where you can point an iPhone 11 at another iPhone to instantly share files with them.

On its iPhone 11 Pro page, Apple teases that the directional AirDrop feature is "just the beginning" of what is possible with Ultra Wideband, adding that "amazing new capabilities" are coming later.

Last year, MacRumors uncovered evidence of Apple working on Tile-like item trackers in iOS 13 code. The so-called AirTags will also support Ultra Wideband, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, suggesting that iPhone 11 models will be able to locate the tags with precise accuracy in both indoor and outdoor areas.

MacRumors exclusive: Find My app with hidden "Items" tab for AirTags

The distance between two Ultra Wideband devices can be measured precisely by calculating the time that it takes for a radio wave to pass between the two devices, with much more accuracy than Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi.

It is unclear when Apple plans to announce its item tracking tags, or if development of the product has been abandoned.

In any case, it appears that Ultra Wideband really is just getting started.

Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro

This article, "Android Smartphones Expected to Follow iPhone With Ultra Wideband Technology Starting Later This Year" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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