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Jason Snell: ‘The U1 Chip in the iPhone 11 Is the Beginning of an Ultra Wideband Revolution’

[2019-09-14 22:19:27]

Great piece from Jason Snell, writing at Six Colors: From raw data alone, UWB devices can detect locations within 10 centimeters (4 inches), but depending on implementation that accuracy can be lowered to as much as 5 millimeters, according to Mickael Viot, VP of marketing at UWB chipmaker Decawave. ... Of course, that’s only if most smartphones are UWB enabled. As of today, the total number of smartphones shipping with UWB onboard is zero. In fact the iPhone 11 family, when it arrives next week, will be the first consumer smartphones to support UWB. A glance at the various trade groups coalescing around this technology suggests that Google, Samsung, HTC, and other major players plan to get in the game. “It’s huge,” Viot says, that Apple has taken this step. He likens the move to Apple adopting Wi-Fi in the first iBook, which was the push the technology needed to start rolling out everywhere. It’s interesting to think about Ultra Wideband in comparison to 5G. Critics are blasting Apple for not including 5G in any of this year’s iPhones, claiming that everyone buying an iPhone this year will be missing out for years to come. If UWB is the next big thing, everyone buying a 2019 iPhone will still get to play for years to come. Apple’s usually not first to new technology (again: see 5G), but when they are, it is often a big new thing.  ★ 

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