Thanks to iOS leaker @blue_kanikama, we now have additional details about Apple’s unannounced AirTags, including the chips that the AirTags will use and a new app to help find your AirTags.
According to internal code found deep within iOS, AirTags will likely use a custom Apple R1 chip. This chip is built around ultra-wideband technology. Similar to the AirPods’s W1 and H1 chips, the R1 chip is likely to be the component that makes the AirTags work seamlessly with the paired iPhone/iPad.
The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro models received a new chip this year called the U1 chip, which allows the iPhone to become spatially aware through the usage of ultra wideband technology. For example, if a person with an iPhone 11 wanted to AirDrop a file to one person in a room of several people with iPhones, your iPhone can use the U1 chip inside to detect which iPhone is closest and which is furthest away.
At the moment, it seems that only AirDrop takes advantage of the U1 chip, but in the future, the iPhone’s U1 chip could work with the AirTag’s R1 chip.
Alongside this, the leaker also shared code for what appears to be a new app inside iOS called “Find My Tag”. Under the internal .plist file for ‘Find My Tag’, it says that it uses the UWB (ultra wideband) technology, so this is very clearly pointing to an app for the AirTags, but the leaker hasn’t shared how it will work, look, or function with the U1 and the AirTag’s R1 chips.
The AirTags have been expected for quite a long time, but recent rumours have suggested that Apple will be officially unveiling the AirTags at WWDC next week alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, watchOS 7, and macOS 10.16, but recent rumours suggest that Apple may be renaming macOS 10.16 to macOS 11