Leakers have uncovered many of Apple’s biggest iPhone 15 upgrades, but one of the most surprising has only now been revealed, and it makes a lot of sense.
According to respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will introduce a next-generation Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip in all iPhone 15 models. Kuo states that the new chip will jump from a 16nm to 7nm production process, “allowing for improved performance or reduced power consumption for nearby Interactions.”
But why now? After all, Apple introduced UWB with the iPhone 11 in back 2019, labeling it as the ‘U1’ chip, and the company saw no need to upgrade it in the years since. Kuo claims it is all down to the Apple Vision Pro.
Much like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, UWB is a short-range, wireless communication protocol that operates through radio waves. Unlike them, UWB operates at very high frequencies and can be used to capture highly accurate spatial and directional data. This was good enough for the U1’s location-based features like Find My, Precision Finding (such as AirTags) and AirDrop, but Vision Pro’s spatial awareness operates at a whole new level.
And yes, at $3,500, the Vision Pro is unlikely to sell in large quantities when it goes on sale in early 2024, but Apple still needs to ready the rest of its famously interconnected ecosystem. There is also likely to be a knock-on effect as well, with the Apple Watch, HomePod, HomePod Mini and even the latest AirPods Pro charging case all integrating a U1 chip.
Whether the new chip contributes to growing rumors of iPhone 15 price increases remains to be seen. Of course, the leaked camera and design upgrades will be far bigger factors in the minds of most iPhone 15 upgraders, but the U2 chip (or whatever it is called, given the obvious problem of this branding…) is another subtle but significant sign of Apple preparing for a future beyond smartphones as it moves towards an AR/VR future.
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