Why did the Apple U1 appear in Apple Watch Series 6? Why wasn’t it on the 2020 iPad Pro or the second generation iPhone SE? Why isn’t it in the Apple Watch SE, or, judging by what Apple said, in the iPad Air 4? AirTags never came out – and will they come out at all? There are more questions than answers. There are no more answers, but the other day it seems like it became known about another device in which this chip will appear: at Apple AirPods Studio… This is reported by rumors and leaks from Apple.
Why you need a U1 chip in AirPods Studio
Apple’s documentation (and its many patents on this topic) is specifically about ultra-wideband communication and detection systems. In AirPods Studio, judging by rumors and leaks, the signal delivered to the left and right ear cups will depend on their position relative to the listener’s head – and it turns out that they will use the same UWB chip for this. Apple U1… To accurately determine the position of the device and its components in space. This is the main purpose of the Apple U1, not AirDrop or AirTags. In the future (near) this chip is said to be very important for the apple ecosystem.
In September 2019, Apple was set to wow audiences with yet another insanely great revolution. This revolution is hinted at by a lot of what’s happening at Apple these days. The importance of ultra-wideband (UWB) to this revolution cannot be overemphasized – but this is only one part of it. This part is also not easy. UWB has a long and interesting history, but until 2002 everything connected with them was classified and used exclusively by the military. In 2002-2005 Samsung tried to use UWB in mobile telephony, and in 2005 its cell phone using UWB was shown to the public – but it did not go beyond the demonstration.
Apple U1 in Apple Watch 6
For some apparently serious purpose, about which almost nothing was said, Apple equipped the iPhone 11 with the Apple U1 UWB chip. And as if she had forgotten about him. Like everyone who has already tried to somehow adapt UWB to it. From 2002 to 2019, dozens (or even hundreds) of attempts to put this beast at the service of ordinary users were recorded, all these attempts ended in nothing, and Apple was no exception.
It seems that this is exactly how it looked. Until September 15 this year. At WWDC this June, Apple made the Apple U1 open to third-party developers by announcing the Nearby Interaction (NI) framework, but it didn’t get much applause. Users did not even know about this, but they were well aware that neither the second generation iPhone SE nor the 2020 iPad Pro had an Apple U1 chip. Here, they say, the end of the fairy tale! But it was not so, on September 15 Apple U1 was included in the Apple Watch Series 6, but Apple Watch SE decided to do without it, which many did not understand in our Telegram chat.
The main meaning of the U1 chip for Apple
We live, it seems to us, in the era of smart devices. But in reality, today’s smart devices are not very smart. They are very poorly (much worse than us) navigate in the environment. Something they already do better than we do — satellite navigation, motion sensors, and a built-in compass — are beyond our capabilities. But in the context around us, the devices do not understand anything, and because of this they cannot behave adequately to the situation. For this they lack the senses.
LiDAR and UWB sensors should become these senses. Seeing what is happening around the device and feeling other devices in the surrounding space is almost all that he needs to comprehend what is happening. You also need to hear the context, but that’s okay.
It remains to connect the senses to artificial intelligence (neural processor and machine learning unit), and perhaps add some more senses to them, and the revolution will be complete. This is an assumption, but the facts speak in its favor. Currently, UWB sensors (where they are) are of little practical use. And this is not Apple style. LiDARs are pretty much useless too. But this is just the beginning of something big and interesting.