We have seen numerous reports detailing Apple’s upcoming tracker. Apart from the design and basic functionality we also know that the Tile like tracker from Apple will use the iPhone 11’s U1 chip. The chip is said to offer better positioning data as opposed to Bluetooth. We have also learned that Apple’s tracker will make use of Ultra WideBand radio. Apple chose to not mention the U1 chip at the keynote event. The iPhone 11 website mentions about AirDrop feature using U1 Chip.
How does iPhone 11’s U1 Chip work?
Apple has detailed the functionality and applications of U1 chip on iPhone 11. The company has mentioned that U1 chip uses Ultra WideBand technology which offers better indoor positioning.
The new Apple‑designed U1 chip uses Ultra Wideband technology for spatial awareness — allowing iPhone 11 to precisely locate other U1‑equipped Apple devices. Think GPS at the scale of your living room. So if you want to share a file with someone using AirDrop, just point your iPhone at theirs and they’ll be first on the list.
Advantages of Ultra-Wideband over Bluetooth
Ultra-wideband is a radio system that is used to accurately measure the distance between devices. The technology is mostly used in the Internet of Things. The Ultra-wideband is said to have many advantages over Bluetooth tracking and the most important is a high level of accuracy. Typically location tracking Bluetooth devices measure signal strength and gauge the distance between two devices. However, the signal is not the best indicator of distance.
Location tracking via ultra-wideband is designed to address the problem detailed above. The standard uses radio waves with short impulse transmissions and the sharp rises and drops can be measured. With the help of this, the distance between Ultra-Wideband devices can be measured by correlating with the time taken for a radio wave to pass between the devices.
Other applications of U1 Chip
Now we know how the U1 Chip on iPhone 11 works and its advantages when it comes to tracking tags. Sixcolors lists out all the possibilities with Ultra-Wideband onboard. The technology can be used for keyless car entry, indoor navigation, augmented reality. Furthermore, Ultra-Wideband is likely to be helpful in building an advanced anti-theft mechanism for a car that replaces car keyfobs with UWB-enabled devices.
Other applications include a music system that detects the position of the individual listener and customizes the sound or a door that will lock itself once you are inside your home.