Prior to the launch of Apple's 2019 iPhone lineup rumors in the tech media mill reported that Apple is working on a competitor for Amazon's Tile tags. The Tile and Tile 2 use Bluetooth for enabling users to find their lost items after a Tile has been placed on said items. Apple, as usual, will reportedly take this concept one step ahead.
Instead of using Bluetooth, Apple's 'Tags' will utilize Ultra-Wide-Band technology. UWB is more precise than Bluetooth, and we'll tell you how below. Apple's also introduced a new U1 chip inside the iPhone 11 lineup, and this chip will enable the devices to directionally ascertain another iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max. So if you're interested to know more about the latest technology on the Cupertino tech giant's devices, take a look below for the details.
Apple's U1 Chip On iPhone 11 Lineup Transmits 6GHz & 8GHz Frequencies - Chip Will Add New Kick To Company's Product Ecosystem
For Apple, it's all about the community. The company's users are brought inside its ecosystem after they make a purchase, and through a software ecosystem, Apple makes it very easy for users to switch between various form factors - whether it's a Mac, an iPad, an iPhone or an Apple Watch. Now, with ultrawideband, the Cupertino tech giant will bring a new feature for its users.
Information on Apple's Air Tags gleaned off from the FindMy app in iOS 13 suggests that the feature is designed to aid users in not losing and in finding their lost items. In the app, an Items tab will show the items that a user has tagged with Air Tags and items' locations. If a user loses an item, then he/she will be informed by the iPhone, with an added option of making the Apple Tag attached to the item emit a beep.
However, this isn't where Apple's aforementioned product ecosystem comes into play. If a user is unable to find an object tagged through an Apple Tag, another iPhone user who's got a UWB U1 chip inside his/her smartphone will be informed about the lost item when it comes to the U1's vicinity. The FindMy app will then proceed to inform the user about the lost item's owner so that the item can be returned. This feature will work only after a user has put an item into 'Lost Mode'.
All this will be possible through the U1 chip that currently only sits inside the 2019 iPhone lineup. Take a look at the image above and you'll see a live image of this chip. Right now, the only openly-available UWB capable chip supporting the 802.15.4z standard is the Decawave DW1000. Apple's U1 chip also supports the enhanced impulse radio standard. Standardization, as most you will know, is a must for interoperability.
According to TechInsights, the U1 can emit data using two frequencies: 6.24GHz and 8.2368GHz. The FCC has allocated ultrawideband a spectrum starting from 3.1GHz to 10.6GHz. Ultrawideband devices emit short signals around them and gauge the time of the signal's return to ascertain the direction and position of a device. This technology is a form of time-of-flight mapping and is more accurate than what Bluetooth and WiFi-based solutions can achieve. The nature of noise that a signal comes across doesn't affect the signal's integrity allowing an ultrawideband device to measure location or position with only a 5-10cm error.
Judging from the potential offered by UWB, it's unlikely that Apple will limit the technology to AirDrop, as is the case on the iPhone 11 lineup. If the company has its way, then you might be able to have your car automatically unlock itself once it detects that an iPhone with a UWB chip paired to it is coming near. Apple's decision to follow the 802.15.4 standards lends credibility to this fact.
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