Apple has been quietly inserting special locator beacon chips into some of its new iPhones that will allow you to unlock your car and find lost items through walls – the latter thanks to the $ 29 AirTags announced today – but unfortunately you’ll get that chip not found in the new M1-based iPad Pros or the highly anticipated new Siri remote for the Apple TV.
Apple has confirmed to us that the U1 locator chip, which uses ultra-wideband (UWB) radio pulses to broadcast the exact location, will not appear in the Siri remote. We’re waiting for the final bulletproof confirmation on the iPad Pros, but it won’t appear on their product page, spec sheet, or press release either. Last year’s iPad Pros didn’t have a U1 chip either.
Does Apple expect us to stick AirTags on our iPads and TV remotes to escape the jaws of the ever-hungry couch? Unlikely, but the company has been pretty picky about which devices get the chip so far. You can find it in the iPhone 11 and later (but not the iPhone SE) and the Apple Watch Series 6 (but not the Apple Watch SE), but we’re pretty sure it hasn’t made its way to iPads or MacBooks announced since the chip’s introduction in September 2019.
Theoretically, Apple could build an ecosystem where any Apple device could easily find any other Apple device (not to mention UWB devices from Samsung, which is also deeply invested in the technology and also has its own AirTag-like device ). But for now, you mainly use your phone to find AirTags, not other gadgets, except maybe your future car.