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Apple is working to make AR part of everyday life


Apple continues to develop its plans for the highly secure location-aware ultra-wideband (UWB) standard and is expected to place its U1 chips inside the iPhone 12 range, next-generation Apple TV and HomePod devices, reports claim.

Why does this matter?

UWB is a spatially aware technology that provides precise location data and also works better through walls than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Apple generated lots of interest when it put the U1 processor inside the iPhone 11, but didn’t have a great deal to share about why it was doing it. It just mentioned a single use with AirDrop.

Since then, it has said it intends using the U1 to support the Car Key feature. Car Key will open your car door as you approach the vehicle and will not require you to pull out your device. It will also start your car.

Apple now also put its U1 chip inside the Apple Watch Series 6, which makes sense given the value of that product for payment and door entry systems. The most recent iPad Air, meanwhile, has something Apple calls “iBeacon microlocation.”

The biggest move to show the future emerged when Apple at WWDC revealed plans to open up the U1 chip to developers with the Nearby Interaction framework for iOS 14.

What does UWB offer?

As I wrote here:

“UWB is a very low-power wireless technology. It transmits data across a wide frequency of bands (from 500MHz up to several gigahertz) at a range of around 100 meters. The use of wide frequency bands means it passes through walls far more reliably than Bluetooth or Wi-Fi can achieve.”

Advantages include:

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