Apple HomePod mini and new Apple TV could give UWB a killer use-case

On the eve of Apple's big iPhone reveal event for 2020, a new leak is claiming that the rumored HomePod mini and Apple TV will be host to some impressive tech. Specifically, the leak tells us that both of these products will act as Ultra Wideband (UWB) base-stations. When used in tandem with other devices using Apple's U1 chip, the HomePod mini and the new Apple TV will be able to track where those devices are.

The leak was reported in a series of tweets by Jon Prosser. In addition to being able to provide precise location info, Prosser also says that these UWB hubs can turn "regular hardware into HomeKit hardware," and that they'll allow users to track their U1 devices in the Find My app. Finally, Prosser also says that these base-stations will be "a very clever Trojan horse from Apple that will enable AR capabilities in your Find My app within your home."

Equipping these products with UWB support could indeed be a big deal once Apple builds out its lineup of U1 devices. For the moment, only iPhones released in 2019 and the Apple Watch Series 6 have a U1 chip, but we're expecting the iPhones that are on deck for reveal tomorrow to have a U1 chip at their core too.

As more and more Apple products launch with a U1 chip, the UWB capabilities of the HomePod mini and the new Apple TV could begin to shine. For instance, once the HomePod mini detects that you've left the house with your iPhone, it could use HomeKit to lock the doors behind you. It could also allow for device tracking that's much more precise, making it easier to find an iPhone or Apple Watch in the event that it's lost.

In the case of the HomePod Mini, we should learn if this leak is true very soon, as Apple is widely expected to launch the new smart speaker during its iPhone reveal event tomorrow. For now, take what's claimed in this leak with a grain of salt, because nothing is confirmed until Apple gets up on stage and announces it.