Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Apple’s tracking tags will reportedly use ultra-wideband for precision

The caveat is that you’ll need a new iPhone to take advantage of it
Igor Bonifacic, @igorbonifacic
September 7, 2019
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Chris Velazco / Engadget

While we've known for a while now that Apple is working on a Tile-like tracking device, what hasn't been clear is how the company plans to differentiate the product beyond its usual ecosystem tie-ins. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a solid track record on rumors, and claims the answer is a technology called ultra-wideband (UWB) that will allow the tags to perform better than currently-available competition.

With the help of Bluetooth LE, current tags can help a person pinpoint the location of an item to an area of about 16 feet. With UWB, by contrast, that area is narrowed down to less than a third thanks to the fact the technology allows two compatible devices to precisely calculate the time it takes for a signal to travel between them.

As with any communication protocol, the limitation of this new standard is that both devices need to feature the tech. According to a previous report from Kuo, all three 2019 iPhones will feature UWB. Unfortunately, that leaves out all current iPhone owners.

Kuo's latest note doesn't say anything about how existing iPhones will connect with Apple's new tracker, but a likely answer is that they'll fall back on Bluetooth LE. Moving forward, Apple is likely to integrate the protocol into its other devices, with AirPods as an obvious candidate. There, the tech could make a significant difference when you're forced to find a lost Pod in the dark crevices of an MTA subway station.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
Belkin’s new wireless charger tries to do what AirPower promised

Belkin’s new wireless charger tries to do what AirPower promised

View
The best Black Friday tech deals we could find

The best Black Friday tech deals we could find

View
Amazon workers plan Black Friday strikes and protests in 15 countries

Amazon workers plan Black Friday strikes and protests in 15 countries

View
A bunch of gaming peripherals are deeply discounted for Black Friday

A bunch of gaming peripherals are deeply discounted for Black Friday

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr