The new iPad Pro does not have a U1 UWB chip

iPad Pro 2020 Trackpad Hero
iPad Pro 2020 Trackpad Hero (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • The 2020 iPad Pro does not have a U1 UWB chip.
  • That's according to John Gruber, who says a little birdie told him.
  • There have been weeks of speculation regarding whether the new iPad does or does not have this chip inside it.

A report from John Gruber over at Daring Fireball seems to confirm that the new 2020 iPad Pro models do not have a U1 UWB chip.

In his post, 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 this to him:

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 chip in Apple's iPhone 11 and 11 Pro is used for spacial awareness and close-quarters locating of other U1 devices. Apple describes it as GPS at the scale of your living room. Gruber is of course right in that if the chip was included in Apple's latest iPad Pro models, Apple would certainly have told us!

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

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