Apple's new iPhone SE doesn't have a U1 Ultra Wideband chip

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2020
Apple's newly updated iPhone SE, launched on Wednesday, doesn't come equipped with the company's custom U1 Ultra Wideband chip that debuted with iPhone 11 last year.




The U1 chip, which first appeared in the iPhone 11 lineup, offers additional spatial awareness and ultra-precise location tracking capabilities to devices that have it. Because of those features, it's thought to be closely related to upcoming products like AirTags.

According to the technical specifications page for the iPhone SE, the new affordable handset does not come with a U1 chip.

It isn't clear at this point how that will impact compatibility with Apple's rumored Bluetooth tracking tags, but it's possible that AirTags could default to Bluetooth for older devices without UWB.

The 2020 iPad Pro also lacks a U1 chip, despite rumors to the contrary.

Interestingly, UWB is one of few next-generation options iPhone SE does not support. The handset's specs list largely echoes that of the iPhone 11, with support for Wi-Fi 6, reader-mode NFC and Express Cards with power reserve. The two latter features are likely to be integral for a rumored "CarKey" feature that Apple is developing for release in a future version of iOS.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    So, you’re saying it has everything I need.

    Looks like a winner!
    napoleon_phoneapart
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Apple never gives their budget phones its latest updated technologies. Other then the SOC, which is 6 month old, every other component is 2-3 years old!   That why I stay away from Apple’s budget phones.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 775member
    Apple never gives their budget phones its latest updated technologies. Other then the SOC, which is 6 month old, every other component is 2-3 years old!   That why I stay away from Apple’s budget phones.
    Well they are budget phones for a reason. Not everyone needs the biggest, best iPhone on the market but they still want something new and affordable.
    ivanhbageljoeychasmlolliverspock1234mwhitemike1chiabaconstangcaladanian
  • Reply 4 of 17
    arthurbaarthurba Posts: 120member
    Is it a co-incidence that the latest iPad Pro and latest iPhone both don’t have the chip. These products are at different ends of the budget spectrum - most expensive iPad and cheapest phone. To me that looks like the U1 is dead and won’t be seen ever again. Or the cost/supply constraints are so very high that getting them into anything other than iPhone 11 is unfeasible. And that seems u likely. 

    So why would Apple have suddenly ditched U1?  Is it that they don’t want to be forced to open it to 3rd parties?  Is it the lawsuits?  They wouldn’t remove it from an existing product - but by not including it in new ones they are signalling a change of direction and can show
    courts that.
    caladanian
  • Reply 5 of 17
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    If the newest iPad Pro didn't have it, I certainly wouldn't expect this phone to have it either.

    No big deal at all imo.

    I think that this phone is going to sell nicely. The price is very nice, the features/specs are nice and the Touch ID is actually a nice feature to have when most people are currently wearing masks on their damn faces!
    edited April 2020 spock1234pscooter63
  • Reply 6 of 17
    chabigchabig Posts: 640member
    My guess is that the iPad Pro doesn’t have it because it’s an interim product, not changed much from the previous generation. The iPhone SE doesn’t have it because it’s a lower cost device. I bet the next iPad Pro (with next gen CPU) and the next flagship series iPhones will both have it.
    lolliverspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 17
    chabigchabig Posts: 640member
    My guess is that the iPad Pro doesn’t have it because it’s an interim product, not changed much from the previous generation. The iPhone SE doesn’t have it because it’s a lower cost device. I bet the next iPad Pro (with next gen CPU) and the next flagship series iPhones will both have it.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    OdvarOnlyOdvarOnly Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    I think the greatest feature of this phone is the ability purchase a phone from Apple at below $400 without worrying about when they will stop providing iOS update for it.
    JinTech said:
    Apple never gives their budget phones its latest updated technologies. Other then the SOC, which is 6 month old, every other component is 2-3 years old!   That why I stay away from Apple’s budget phones.
    Well they are budget phones for a reason. Not everyone needs the biggest, best iPhone on the market but they still want something new and affordable.
    I think the greatest feature of this phone is the ability purchase a phone from Apple at below $400 without worrying about when they will stop providing iOS update for it. Not sure about the old UI though I think Apple has moved on from Touch ID on phones, I would call this a parts bin phone.
    lolliver
  • Reply 9 of 17
    arthurba said:
    Is it a co-incidence that the latest iPad Pro and latest iPhone both don’t have the chip. These products are at different ends of the budget spectrum - most expensive iPad and cheapest phone. To me that looks like the U1 is dead and won’t be seen ever again. Or the cost/supply constraints are so very high that getting them into anything other than iPhone 11 is unfeasible. And that seems u likely. 

    So why would Apple have suddenly ditched U1?  Is it that they don’t want to be forced to open it to 3rd parties?  Is it the lawsuits?  They wouldn’t remove it from an existing product - but by not including it in new ones they are signalling a change of direction and can show
    courts that.
    Or perhaps the theories that the U1 is causing too much interference with Bluetooth to function properly are true.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 10 of 17
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 775member
    OdvarOnly said:
    I think the greatest feature of this phone is the ability purchase a phone from Apple at below $400 without worrying about when they will stop providing iOS update for it.
    JinTech said:
    Apple never gives their budget phones its latest updated technologies. Other then the SOC, which is 6 month old, every other component is 2-3 years old!   That why I stay away from Apple’s budget phones.
    Well they are budget phones for a reason. Not everyone needs the biggest, best iPhone on the market but they still want something new and affordable.
    I think the greatest feature of this phone is the ability purchase a phone from Apple at below $400 without worrying about when they will stop providing iOS update for it. Not sure about the old UI though I think Apple has moved on from Touch ID on phones, I would call this a parts bin phone.
    So it should have the very latest and greatest tech? No. That's not what this phone is about. If you want Face ID, you get the next model up. Again, this phone is less expensive for a reason, including the manufacturing costs. If Apple were to put newer tech in the phone, it would cost $499 and would compete too much with the iPhone XR. This is phone is for the folks who don't need all the bells and whistles of the XR or the 11.
    edited April 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 17
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,624member
    OdvarOnly said:
    I think the greatest feature of this phone is the ability purchase a phone from Apple at below $400 without worrying about when they will stop providing iOS update for it.
    JinTech said:
    Apple never gives their budget phones its latest updated technologies. Other then the SOC, which is 6 month old, every other component is 2-3 years old!   That why I stay away from Apple’s budget phones.
    Well they are budget phones for a reason. Not everyone needs the biggest, best iPhone on the market but they still want something new and affordable.
    I think the greatest feature of this phone is the ability purchase a phone from Apple at below $400 without worrying about when they will stop providing iOS update for it. Not sure about the old UI though I think Apple has moved on from Touch ID on phones, I would call this a parts bin phone.
    Touch ID still works great.  It’s Face ID that I find annoying.  For those of us that don’t use the camera regularly.  Pay 40% of the “premium” model seems like a great deal.  You pay a ton for incremental improvements.  Isn’t the screen on the new iPhone SE still great?  You know it will be.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,262member
    ....

    Interestingly, UWB is one of few next-generation options iPhone SE does not support.  .....

    Another option, probably the most important of all, is that it cannot support 5G.
    Reuters reports a survey of 350,000 Chinese says that nearly 2/3's will not buy the phone -- at least partly for that reason as 5G transmitters and receivers proliferate there.

    And, the same for me:   I will not buy nor recommend any phone that does not support 5G.  While Chinese buyers have more pressing reason to expect it because 5G is quickly spreading throughout the country, here in the U.S. the need is less pressing as we drag our feet.  But, who wants a phone that will soon be lacking an important feature?
  • Reply 13 of 17
    On Apple's UK site, both the new iPhone SE and the current iPad Pro list "iBeacon micro-location" under 'Location' in their specs. I wonder if there is an alternative technique to the U1 chip.

    I think the SE is a great phone, BTW. Apart from the price, and who doesn't like spending less, it bundles a good selection of Apple's latest-generation technology into a package that's usefully smaller and lighter (40g, almost a quarter) than an 11 Pro. Not quite as groundbreaking as the first SE perhaps but still a usefully different proposition.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 17
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,722member
    iBeacons have been around a while now.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    command_fcommand_f Posts: 345member
    crowley said:
    iBeacons have been around a while now.
    Agreed. I was wondering if their protocol could substitute for UWB in other places too (eg tags), meaning that recent hardware without U1 could still locate those new devices (presumably with reduced resolution).

    If devices like tags are imminent then their addressable market of iPhone users would be greatly increased if they can interwork with these modern 'legacy' devices that don't have U1.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 17
    I’m a bit confused about the UWB chips purpose. Is it the transmitter or the receiver? Or perhaps both?
    If Apple comes out with a locator tag that has the U1 chip built into it, and is able to transmit its location down to a precise level, why wouldn’t Bluetooth or whatever other protocol be used by the receiver (like the new SE or iPad Pro without the U1, or any other Apple device), to locate the tags location down to a  precise level that UWB allows?

    If that’s the case, then the high end iPhone Pro would be able to transmit its location as if it was a tag itself, and these lower spec hardware without the chip cannot. Which makes more sense to me. 

    Thats how I’ve sorted it out in my head but I could be way off. Maybe someone with more knowledge on UWB can correct me if I’m wrong please. 
    watto_cobra
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