2020 iPad Pro Reportedly Lacks U1 Ultra Wideband Chip

After weeks of speculation and claims to the contrary, a new report confirms Apple did not integrate its U1 Ultra Wideband chip in the 2020 iPad Pro.

According to a new report from John Gruber at Daring Fireball, the new 2020 iPad Pro models do not have a U1 UWB chip. Gruber notes MacRumors own speculation regarding the device, published last week:

While it was previously reported that all 2020 iPad Pro models feature the same Apple-designed U1 chip as the iPhone 11 lineup, enabling Ultra Wideband support, we have compiled evidence to suggest that this may not be the case…

Earlier this week, the teardown experts at iFixit informed us that they had yet to find physical evidence of the U1 chip in the new iPad Pro. However, iFixit did note that it had yet to remove RF shielding from the logic board to confirm this.

The biggest clue of all is that FCC filings for all iPhone 11 models list operating frequencies in the 6GHz range and the 7-8GHz range, and the rules for these frequencies points to “Subpart F — Ultra-Wideband Operation.” TechInsights last year reported that the U1 chip in iPhone 11 models transmits on two different frequencies, 6.24GHz, and 8.23GHz.

Now, Gruber claims that an inside source has confirmed that the new 2020 iPad Pro don’t have the chip:

There’s no reason to think the iPad Pros have a secret U1 chip other than this March 18 post at 9to5Mac that stated it does, “based on code from the latest iOS 13.4 build”. “Based on code” is a pretty dumb way to source this as true.

I confirmed with a little birdie who would certainly know the answer: there is no U1 chip in the new iPad Pro, and if there were one, Apple would have told us so.

The U1 Ultra Wideband chip debuted with the iPhone 11. It allows the iPhone to detect its exact position relative to other devices in the same room. That gives it a sense of spatial awareness for things like targeted AirDrop by pointing one iPhone at another to share a file.

Given that Apple had not mentioned a U1 chip for the new iPad Pro, there was really no reason to think that it would include one. The chip is not mentioned in Apple’s tech specs for the device or any of the marketing materials advertising it.

The absence of the U1 chip on the latest iPads now signals to the possibility that Apple might update the iPad lineup later this year, as the U1 chip is expected to be integral to services like AirDrop and upcoming products like the AirTags. Apple’s upcoming AirTags, a Tile-like tracking device, is expected to make use of the U1 chip to precisely locate Apple products.