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Patent: How Apple’s U1 Chip Could Enhance Apple Pay

Today, Apple granted a patent detailing how Apple could potentially add another feature to its U1 chip. The iPhone 11, iPhone 12, Apple Watch Series 6, and HomePod mini feature this chip.

According to this patent, Apple could further enhance how one uses Apple Pay with a U1-enabled iPhone. The U1 chip could select a credential based on location for conducting wireless transactions. Additionally, devices with the U1 chip could wirelessly unlock other devices and interact with home/media devices using precise location and spatial awareness. Here are the details from the patent:

“A method for selecting a credential from a plurality of credentials stored on an electronic device, the method comprising: storing a map module that includes a location of a terminal, wherein the terminal comprises a fast passage gate, and wherein the map module indicates one or more eligible credentials of the plurality of credentials, wherein the one or more eligible credentials are compatible with the fast passage gate.”

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The capabilities of this technology were rather limited when Apple first introduced this chip. Initially, you could only use the chip to transfer files via AirDrop. Over the past year, Apple expanded this technology to unlocking some cars with the CarKey API. Most recently, it can be used to transfer a song seamlessly from an iPhone to the HomePod mini, simply by bringing your phone closer to the device.

One upcoming device that could feature the U1 chip is the long-rumored and much-awaited AirTags. With many Apple analysts hoping for an April event, we could finally see the debut of AirTags. We expect the AirTags to be a Tile-like competitor to track important everyday items such as purses, keys, wallets, etc. The features stemming from the U1 chip could include advantages like exceptionally accurate location data or an extremely reliable wireless connection.

With the future of the U1 chip’s technology for Apple Pay, what do you think about the potential capabilities of ultra-wideband technology? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @Appleosophy.

Appleosophy Weekly

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