AirPods Studio Rumored to Come With U1 Chip, Ultra-Wideband Said to Be Vital to Future Apple Ecosystem

Proven leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared a range of information about the ultra-wideband U1 chip in Apple's upcoming AirTags item trackers and AirPods Studio headphones.

The first of a series of tweets shared today simply stated that AirPods Studio will contain an ultra-wideband U1 chip. It seems likely that the U1 chip would be used in ‌AirPods Studio‌ to track the location of the headphones in the Find My app, but it could also have other functions such as directional detection of other in-range U1 devices.

Apple says that the U1 chip will "enable short-range wireless location to support new experiences, such as next-generation digital car keys," but other than directional AirDrop, much of its functionality has yet to be realized.

The distance between two devices that support ultra-wideband can be measured precisely by calculating the time that it takes for a radio wave to pass between the two devices, with much more accuracy than Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi. The leaker went on to state that "The Internet of Everything starts with U1."

The U1 chip had only appeared in the iPhone 11 and the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro. The lack of a U1 in the 2020 iPad Pro and the second iPhone SE cast doubt over the future of the chip until its recent inclusion in the Apple Watch Series 6.

A further tweet, translated from Chinese, explained more about the utility of the U1 chip in ‌AirPods Studio‌ and its wider significance. The leaker believes that the expansion of the U1 chip to the Apple Watch Series 6 proves Apple's ongoing commitment to the technology and serves as an indication that the chip will go on to be much more important within Apple's ecosystem in the future.

I said this point a few months ago. With the launch of S6 and the U1 chip, it has confirmed my prediction that the ecosystem in the future will use U1 to determine distance and direction, similar to AirPods' spatial audio function in iOS 14. It is likely that the new headset with the U1 chip should be able to automatically recognize the left and right positioning of the headset.

The U1 chip will reportedly facilitate automatic recognition of the headphone's orientation, meaning that it would not matter which way around users would wear the headphones. There would be no static left or right side, and users could simply put on the headphones and the audio channels would switch as needed without user intervention.

With the release of spatial audio for AirPods Pro and the introduction of directional AirDrop for ‌iPhone 11‌ with iOS 13, Apple appears to be increasingly interested in directional and location-centric technology.

A final translated tweet described how Apple's upcoming AirTags will have more nuanced importance than simply item tracking.

The tag is a node that interconnects everything. The node acts as a bridge to connect various devices. U1 is the most important part of the realization of this bridge. The privacy function of ‌iOS 14‌ is created to make the tag better used in a private environment. A good solution to the problem of privacy violations involved in use.

The idea of ‌AirTags‌ being a key part of a larger U1 network to "bridge" different devices, with privacy at the forefront, may explain what makes ‌AirTags‌ different from existing item trackers and why Apple has seemingly waited so long to unveil them. Not only does this have potential for more private, accurate, and widespread item tracking capabilities, but also close-range data transfer between devices with supplementary directional information.

‌AirTags‌ are believed to be arriving alongside the iPhone 12 in October. AirTags and AirPods Studio have reportedly been in production for some time.

As supposed renders and images, and videos of both products have been shared over the last week, it seems that the announcement of both products is not far away.

Related Roundup: AirPods Studio

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
No way in hell these are what actual AirPods Studios will look like. They remind me of that junk phone somebody found in a bar. Remember how much everybody hated that piece of ****?!

[IMG width="482px"]https://images.macrumors.com/t/QqHHx_pjK__1QwUrXUoL23WKMRs=/800x0/filters:quality(90)/article/2010/04/17/232238-4g.jpg?lossy[/IMG]

…uh, wait
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
It’s been months maybe a year since you’ve been saying “AirTags” release is imminent...
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago


Apple is testing and developing and teasing all of this stuff over a several year period, pretty much out in the open

That's the amazing thing about this. AR for the masses requires a huge ecosystem of technology and partners. Apple is refining each component right in front of us.

No one seems to have noticed that Spatial Audio is, in fact, AR. Sure, it's audio-only AR, but that is step one: augmenting reality based on the reference frame of the device. It knows where you are relative to the device. If you add a fixed reference point, like a tile, and you use a 3D scanner, like the sensor on the iPhone, to anchor that to the physical space, now you know where you are in that space.

Brilliant, beautiful evolution of technology. Well done, Apple.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
I was actually thinking about this yesterday. My gut tells me that like the leaker implies, ultra wideband is all about enabling AR. When the glasses finally do hit, devices (and things) can have whole new levels of experience emerge from them, and the glasses will know precisely what angle the viewer is seeing the devices from.

imagine you, wearing the Apple Glasses or whatever, get a notification from your AppleWatch. You glance at it, and emerging from the face of the watch is a 3D interface that you can interact with directly. If anyone has seen the older Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie, many of the interfaces are like this, including the one the lead interacts with on her wrist computer.

We shall see. Apple is testing and developing and teasing all of this stuff over a several year period, pretty much out in the open (ARKit, U1, LiDAR, etc.) and I think that whether it’s in 2021 or 2022, we are getting closer to those Apple AR specs.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago


Why does it feel like the AirPods Studio is going to be like the iPhone 4 all over again...

What like “you’re wearing it wrong”?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
5 weeks ago
Also depends on the presentation. Here is a mockup of what they apparently look like from folks claiming to have seen them

Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

Teardown Video Confirms iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Use Same 2,815mAh Battery

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:47 am PDT by
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals. The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but ...

Images of Supposed AirPods Diagnosis Tool Shared Online

Thursday October 22, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Apple is reportedly rolling out a new tool to Apple service providers for testing AirPods, according to leaker known as "Fudge," who shared images of the tool on Twitter. Apple appears to be seeking to reduce unnecessary AirPods services by more accurately diagnosing the cause of a fault. Instances of a dirt-blockage, which may be difficult to ascertain visually, can apparently be...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Apple's AirTags Revealed in Newly Published Patent Applications

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:13 am PDT by
Two patent applications filed by Apple appear to depict the company's widely expected AirTags item trackers (via Patently Apple). The filings, which include a large number of images, are titled "Mounting Base for a Wirelessly Locatable Tag" and "Fastener with a Constrained Retention Ring," and describe a wirelessly locatable tag that can be used to determine the absolute location of an...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...