One of the new products expected to launch at tomorrow’s Apple event is a new, smaller, and more affordable HomePod mini. A new rumor claims that this new speaker may include Ultra Wideband support to improve spatial awareness, which means that it may include the U1 chip that Apple introduced last year on the iPhone 11.
Apple’s U1 chip enables Ultra Wideband support, which helps devices measure distances between them by calculating the time it takes for a radio wave to pass between them, which is more accurate than Bluetooth LE and WiFi connectivity. Apple has only used this feature to power a directional feature in iOS 13, but the U1 chip was found in the Apple Watch Series 6, so Apple may have bigger plans for Ultra Wideband.
HomePod mini & the new Apple TV will both act as UWB base-stations 🧐
– Will precisely track your location as you walk inside house with other U1 devices.
– Use info for media controls, brightness/volume control, & door locks.
Turns regular hardware into HomeKit hardware.
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) October 12, 2020
According to Jon Prosser, Apple may include the U1 chip in the upcoming HomePod mini, as well as in a new Apple TV, transforming them into Ultra Wideband base-stations. This means that these devices would be able to precisely track users’ locations as they walk around the house while using other U1 devices, such as the iPhone 11, Apple Watch Series 6, and the ones to come.
Prosser believes that the HomePod mini and Apple TV will use location information for media controls, as well as manage brightness and volume controls, locking doors, and more, turning them into HomeKit hardware. He also claims that the UWB base-stations will also be able to use the Find My app when users are away from home to alert if any of the devices have been moved or taken from their homes.
And since we’re talking about moving devices around, Apple had removed the Beats landing page from its website. This led many to believe that Apple was making even more room for the upcoming HomePod mini and the AirPods Studio, even though rumors also claim that they won’t be present in tomorrow’s event. However, the Beats by Dre landing page was soon returned to the store section of Apple’s website, meaning that they won’t be getting in the way of upcoming Apple audio devices.