Cz Complete is Incomplete

Why is the U1 chip on the iPhone but not on the iPad and Mac?


Until recently, the answer to the question “why some devices have U1, but not in others?” Even if they were of interest to someone, it wasn’t that much. And few were interested in it. The chip was not used for anything serious, but it did not cause any particular problems for the iPhone and Apple Watch that sheltered it. In 2019, a whole scandal broke out because of him, but it was caused almost exclusively by user paranoia. On April 20, the mythical AirTags were announced. And the question about the U1 chip in iPad, Mac, and other Apple devices is asked again in our Telegram chat, it requires an answer.

If you do not go into technical details, the presence of the U1 chip in some devices allows you to determine its location with higher accuracy. Apple’s infrastructure built around the U1, the Locator app, and the company’s data centers are magic. We will talk about her natural limitations, which in no way detract from her dignity, some other time. But it’s not always clear what Apple is guided by when deciding whether or not to include an Apple U1 in a particular device. The chip is included in devices where it seems to be not needed. And do not include it in devices where it would be useful.

What is Apple U1

Apple U1, or simply U1, is an ultra-wideband (UWB) detection and communication system chip. Such systems have a lot of advantages, beacons that use UWB in their work are better and more accurate than beacons using other technologies – most often Bluetooth. Apple U1 debuted on iPhone 11 in 2019. On the day of the presentation of the iPhone 11, judging by rumors and a number of other signs, the presentation of beacons with this chip inside was also planned. But something went wrong. Surely during the final testing, some problems with the beacons were identified. Apparently with privacy or something like that. And their release was canceled shortly before the fall iPhone event. In March 2020, they again failed tests or failed to establish their mass production. But now they are reality.

Which devices have an Apple U1 chip

This chip is found in all iPhones released since September 2019, with the exception of the 2020 iPhone SE. In all iPhone 11 and iPhone 12. In September 2020, U1 came to Apple Watch – it is in Apple Watch Series 6. Apple Watch SE announced on the same day uses Apple S5, which does not include Apple U1, and, accordingly, it is not even in the watch itself. In addition, Apple U1 is used in HomePod mini (!) And AirTag.

The U1 really isn’t in the 2020 iPhone SE or the Apple Watch SE. And most likely for the same reason. Both models are modernized designs from the past. iPhone SE is almost one in one iPhone 8 (2017 model), in which the chip was replaced with the most powerful and modern one at the time of its release on April 15 last year. The rest was changed only when absolutely necessary to reduce its cost. They decided to do without U1. The Apple Watch SE is even easier – it uses the system-in-a-case (a set of chips and electronic components) of the Apple S5, the same as in the Apple Watch Series 5, unchanged – and the Apple U1 was not in it. The Apple S6 used in the Apple Watch Series 6 has the Apple U1. That is, no riddles – a production necessity in its purest form.

Why is there no Apple U1 on iPad and Mac?

Apple, of course, does not explain its stubborn reluctance to include the U1 in the design of the Mac and iPad. If Apple has a fundamental objection to using the U1 in laptops and tablets, the reasons are unknown. Apple U1 is a lightweight and compact chip that consumes a minimum of energy – there simply cannot be technical reasons. I repeat, although you already know this without me – laptops and tablets, and even Mac mini are also mobile devices. They get lost, they are stolen, they need U1. Or not U1? Since April 20, iPad Pro and Mac have the same chip, M1. What if in the next generation Apple Silicon U1 is simply placed on a chip – and in all the next Macs and iPad Pro as if by itself, this feature appears? And on other iPad models (cheaper, more compact, and lighter) the U1 should also appear – why it’s not there yet, I don’t know.

Why do I need a U1 chip in HomePod?

Apple does not even dream of significant sales of Apple TV 4Kin 2021. Probably, the new console will be sold more fun than the outdated models, but not by much and not for long. And whether Apple U1 will be in a peripheral for this set-top box or not, this will not affect sales. AirPods Max are not an expensive one-piece product for everyone. For devices of this class and with a high price, they sell surprisingly well. The U1 would not have been in the way of them, but if the AirPods Max, for one of his many problems, failed, the U1 would not have helped him. Maybe U1 will appear in some version of it.

With the HomePod mini, the case is exactly the opposite, and it also needs to be explained. The U1 chip can be used not only to determine the exact position of the device – but it can also be used for orientation in the surrounding space. By the way, it is small and mobile. So U1 is in its place.


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