AirPods Max Don’t Contain U1 Chip for Ultra Wideband
Apple’s new AirPods Max headphones are not equipped with a U1 chip for Ultra Wideband, according to Apple’s tech specs, and confirmed by us. (This chip is not to be confused with the H1 audio chip in each of the AirPod Max’s ear cups.)
First introduced in iPhone 11 models last year, the U1 chip enables improved spatial awareness. The distance between two devices that support Ultra Wideband can be measured precisely by calculating the time that it takes for a radio wave to pass between them, with much more accuracy than Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi.
Apple’s rollout of the U1 chip has been inconsistent, with all iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models, Apple Watch Series 6 models, and the HomePod mini equipped with the chip, but not the second-generation iPhone SE, Apple Watch SE, or the latest iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro models. Apple has also yet to release a Mac with Ultra Wideband support.
Apple’s use of Ultra Wideband technology has been limited so far, such as a directional AirDrop feature in iOS 13 and later, but the company has promised more exciting use cases in the future. One of those use cases will likely be its long-rumored AirTags items trackers, which analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously said will support Ultra Wideband, which should allow users to locate their lost items with greater accuracy.
Multiple leakers had suggested the AirPods Max (which were dubbed AirPods Studio in rumors) would be equipped with the U1 chip, including Jon Prosser.