2020 iPad Pro May Not Have a U1 Ultra Wideband Chip After All
While it was previously reported that all 2020 iPad Pro models feature the same Apple-designed U1 chip as the iPhone 11 lineup, enabling Ultra Wideband support, we have compiled evidence to suggest that this may not be the case.
As a reminder, Apple's tech specs for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro list an Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness, but the chip is not mentioned in Apple's tech specs for the new iPad Pro. Apple also did not mention the new iPad Pro featuring the U1 chip in its press release or in any other marketing materials for the device.
Beyond that, the directional AirDrop feature that the U1 chip enables on iPhone 11 models is not present on the new iPad Pro running iPadOS 13.4, nor is the Ultra Wideband toggle switch that Apple added to iPhones in iOS 13.3.1.
While all of this could suggest that Apple has simply disabled the U1 chip in the new iPad Pro until it becomes more useful, such as when Apple releases its rumored AirTags item tracking tags, more evidence suggests otherwise.
Earlier this week, the teardown experts at iFixit informed us that they had yet to find physical evidence of the U1 chip in the new iPad Pro. However, iFixit did note that it had yet to remove RF shielding from the logic board to confirm this.
The biggest clue of all is that FCC filings for all iPhone 11 models list operating frequencies in the 6GHz range and the 7-8GHz range, and the rules for these frequencies points to "Subpart F — Ultra-Wideband Operation." TechInsights last year reported that the U1 chip in iPhone 11 models transmits on two different frequencies, 6.24GHz and 8.23GHz.
By comparison, FCC filings indicate that all 2020 iPad Pro models operate within a max frequency range of 5GHz for Wi-Fi.
All of this presents a pretty solid case that the new iPad Pro might not have a U1 chip after all, but we have yet to confirm this without a doubt. When published, iFixit's full teardown of the new iPad Pro should provide a definitive answer.
Update: iFixit has finished removing the RF shielding from the new iPad Pro's logic board and has informed MacRumors that, to its best knowledge, it still does not see any sign of the U1 chip. iFixit also says there are no extra Ultra Wideband antennas or cutouts in the iPad Pro's casing that would be required for the U1 chip.