Testing, teardown seemingly confirm 2020 iPad Pro lacks U1 chip

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2020
Rumors prior to the launch of the 2020 iPad Pro suggested Apple's latest generation tablets would gain the company's U1 Ultra Wideband chip. That doesn't appear to be the case, according to a teardown by iFixit.

Contrary to rumors prior to its release, it now appears that the 2020 iPad Pro models don't have a U1 chip.
Contrary to rumors prior to its release, it now appears that the 2020 iPad Pro models don't have a U1 chip.


The U1 chip allows Ultra Wideband (UWB) capabilities for precise, short-range location tracking. On the iPhone 11 lineup, it allows devices to determine their location relative to other UWB iPhones and forms the backbone of a new directional AirDrop functionality in iOS.

Though it wasn't touted as a tentpole feature for the iPhone 11, industry watchers expected the chip to see integration in the 2020 iPad Pro. When the product launched, however, Apple made no mention of the U1 in its press release, nor was the chip mentioned in accompanying system specifications, suggesting that the device didn't have it or, at least, Apple didn't publicize that it did.

In our own testing, AppleInsider was able to confirm that the new UWB AirDrop functionality introduced on the iPhone 11 series is not available on the new iPad Pro models running current iOS versions up to iOS 13.4. Toggles related to UWB that are present on the new iPhones are similarly absent from the 2020 tablets.

The absence could have been chalked up to software, but on Thursday the teardown specialists at iFixit told AppleInsider that they had seen no sign of the U1 chip in the new iPad Pro models.

iFixit conducted an initial teardown earlier in the week, which turned up no evidence. Since then, it has completed the rest of its investigation, including de-shielding the logic board, and confirmed that it sees no sign of the chip or supporting components.

To sum it up succinctly, the evidence strongly suggests that the 2020 iPad Pro models don't have a U1 chip in them. iFixit, for its part, said it wouldn't investigate further.

While the U1 chip doesn't offer any additional capabilities beyond directional AirDrop, many rumors suggest that it will be at the core of future Apple features like its AirTags tracking device or augmented reality-powered indoor navigation.

The absence of the chip from the current iPad Pro, which has a strong AR focus, is curious. But it suggests that Apple may have decided that including it wasn't worth it, despite potential benefits to item tracking or AR.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,287member
    Boo! I think.
    razorpitgregoriusmneo-techcaladaniancornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,796member
    That's a real shame.
    gregoriusmcaladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    tieboytieboy Posts: 4member
    Or...it could be one more thing they’re holding off on including until the next iPad Pro, whether it comes later this year (seems unlikely) along with 5G and MicroLED displays. We shall see. 
    GeorgeBMaccornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    netroxnetrox Posts: 998member
    tieboy said:
    Or...it could be one more thing they’re holding off on including until the next iPad Pro, whether it comes later this year (seems unlikely) along with 5G and MicroLED displays. We shall see. 
    It was rumored to use MiniLED, not microLED. microLED is still at least a year away.
    neo-techfastasleepCloudTalkinwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    caladaniancaladanian Posts: 261member
    Strange, indeed.  :/
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,262member
    tieboy said:
    Or...it could be one more thing they’re holding off on including until the next iPad Pro, whether it comes later this year (seems unlikely) along with 5G and MicroLED displays. We shall see. 

    Yeh, it seems the main benefit of the newest iPad Pro is the addition of a trackpad on the external keyboard rather than the iPad Pro itself.

    The next generation could include some substantial hardware enhancements.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,835member
    Could also chock it up to Apple’s internal developmental secrecy. I’d bet that iPhone development moves along at a more brisk pace than the pads. If the chip development lined up better with iPhone production it may have just clicked in while they decided it was too late in development to implement it for iPad. Plus iPad was getting LiDAR, and seeing how the OSs are beginning to diverge more and more, the team could have just put their collective foot down & said “we don’t have time to make it happen”. Lots of moving parts. 
    watto_cobra
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