What you need to know
- Apple has announced a new framework for developers.
- It will let them take advantage of Apple's U1 chip.
- It uses Ultra Wideband technology to improve spatial awareness.
Apple has announced a new 'Nearby Interaction' framework that will let developers take advantage of Apple's U1 chip in iOS 14.
Currently, the U1 chip in the iPhone 11 is only used for directional AirDrop, the new framework will give developers the option to create new experiences based on spatial-awareness. Apple says that "Devices that share their positions using the high frequency of the U1 chip enable a fluid, interactive session in which peer positioning within the physical environment becomes a primary driver of the user experience." The examples of implementation within apps it gives are:
- A multiuser AR experience places virtual water balloons in the hands of its participants.
- A taxi or rideshare app employs a peer user's direction in real time to identify the relative locations of a driver and a customer.
- A game app enables a user to control a paddle with their device and respond to a moving ball on the peer user's screen, as demonstrated by the following figure.
Apple has also published a developer video on the subject, the description of which states:
One notable limitation is that the feature works best when all the phones in question are in portrait, rather than landscape.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9