For a chip that (as yet) has almost no disclosure from Apple, the U1, present in the new iPhones, already has its functionality very well unraveled. We know that it is an accurate spatial recognition chip that uses the ultra-wideband (UWB) technology to locate other devices with the same capacity with huge accuracy in some cases up to 5 millimeters!
We also know that U1 has only one real-world use so far: providing a much richer experience on the U1 sharing screen. Airdrop It's in the new iPhones (the interface shows the other gadgets next to you and is even able to recognize the ones that are pointed at your smartphone), and that's only when iOS 13.1 comes out next day 30.
Above all, we know that U1 has one main reason for existing: the probable Apple Tags, small trackers that can be attached to ordinary objects (such as purses, wallets, keys, or bikes, for example) and will serve as manageable locators for your iPhone or iPad. The devices, for whatever reason, have not yet been introduced by Apple, but this should happen sometime in the near future.
What we don't have much idea yet is that the U1 chip has many other potential uses and may even spark a new era in the area of digital localization.
In an article for the Six colorsApple enthusiast Jason Snell has provided some other examples of scenarios where UWB may be essential in the near future. One of them is the area of home automation: With the improved location of the U1 chip, smart gadgets and appliances can get a much better idea of where you are inside your home by adjusting their operation accordingly.
An audio system, for example, will be able to "accompany" you around the rooms by turning off certain speakers and turning on others as you move around the house. A smart lock, in turn, can make sure that you are actually in front of your door to unlock it, locking it again as soon as you enter the house and move away from it.
Here, by the way, it is good to make an addendum to deal with Bluetooth Low-energy: The protocol is already used today to perform many of the actions described in this article, but ultra-wideband emission is much more appropriate for these processes. In addition to being more efficient (a UWB chip uses one third the energy of one with Bluetooth LE), the new technology is much safer because it is more accurate: while Bluetooth measures distances by signal strength, a method is not very safe and easily Adulterable, the UWB does it by measuring the exact round-trip time of the waves which makes it much more reliable and accurate.
With this, other applications become more plausible. Carmakers, for example, have abandoned Bluetooth LE for safety concerns; With the popularization of UWB, they will be able to re-make keys that unlock approaching vehicles (or produce smartphone apps that reproduce the same effect, for example).
UWB can also potentially help the application of augmented reality it's from internal navigation allowing, for example, that you can have visual navigation instructions in a shopping mall in the same way that Google Maps already guides you on the streets of a city, for example.
Snell's article points out that all of these scenarios will only be possible if technology becomes popular. The new iPhones are the first devices to adopt it (which in itself is a great springboard, remember), but several other companies, such as Google and Samsung, are involved with UWB development groups, so we may see It's a quick adoption of the technique over the next year. Will take!