Third-party companies will be able to integrate Apple’s U1 chip into their technologies
The new Nearby Interactions feature in iOS 16 demonstrated a facet of its potential at the WWDC event held in June. This feature allows third-party smart devices to be compatible with Apple’s U1 ultra-wideband or UWB chips. Chipmaker Qorvo was the first to be certified for Apple U1 interoperability. Other manufacturers and developers will follow.
The specificity of this new feature is that with it, manufacturers and developers can experiment with the “hands-free” option. This opens up many possibilities and to have access to it, other companies must buy the chip from Apple. Then, with the green light, they can integrate this technology into their own products.
What is this U1 chip for?
The capabilities of this chip with some Apple devices are quite impressive. It is able to function as a GPS allowing users, for example, to find their lost keys somewhere thanks to AirTags. They can also share files via AirDrop by pointing their iPhones at their friends. They also have the ability to transfer music even more easily from their iPhones using the original and mini HomePod.
Apple devices which are eligible with U1 chip are iPhone 11 as well as newer versions except iPhone SE series. But it’s also built into Apple Watch Series 6, newer Apple Watch versions, and previously mentioned devices like AirTags and HomePod mini. It’s not on the Apple TV remote or iPad Pros, though.
Projects of other companies with the UWB
Apple started opening up to other companies in 2021 by allowing them to integrate their products into the Find My device locator. Several companies already have projects that require UWB. First up is the pioneer of smart trackers by the name of Tile. He plans to work on UWB trackers to compete with AirTags from Apple or Samsung with its Galaxy SmartTags.
Second, Tesla would like to integrate UWB into its electric vehicles. However, it would be wise for Elon Musk’s company not to go further with close interactions. Indeed, there was a video where a Tesla car using the Smart Summon automatic parking feature appears to crash into a private jet.