As part of last month’s WWDC, Apple announced that iOS 16 will allow third-party accessories with U1 chip integration to interact with iPhone apps, enabling a new “hands-free user experience” even when the app is running in the background. In a press release today, chipmaker Qorvo said the new feature will allow U1-enabled accessories to work with iOS 16 apps to trigger real-time actions based on precise location, such as turning on lights or playing music when users enter a room, even if the apps are not actively being used at the time.
Qorvo also announced that its ultra-wideband chips are now certified by Apple’s MFi program, which could pave the way for third-party brands of MFi-certified U1 accessories. Accessory manufacturers can use Qorvo’s chips to create accessories compatible with U1-equipped iPhone and Apple Watch models.
Apple’s own accessories can also provide a precise, directional experience. For example, users can place a U1-equipped iPhone near a HomePod mini to “hand off” music playback and provide visual, auditory and tactile effects. U1-enabled iPhones can also take advantage of the Precision Find feature, which makes it easier to find AirTag.
Apple’s U1 chip, which is built into iPhone 11 and newer, Apple Watch Series 6 and newer, HomePod mini and AirTag, uses ultra-wideband technology to enable ultra-precise spatial awareness in close proximity.
More details can be found on the “Proximity Interaction with U1” page on Apple’s developer website.