Initial Find My accessories from VanMoof, Belkin, and Chipolo will work with Find My using Bluetooth, but Apple is developing a U1 specification for chipset makers that will let third-party devices take advantage of the U1 Ultra Wideband chip built into the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.
According to Apple, third-party accessories that offer Ultra Wideband support for the U1 chip will be able to offer a “more precise, directionally aware experience when nearby,” making tracking an item to a specific location easier, especially when that item is close by.
Items that have Ultra Wideband will be able to be tracked more precisely with devices that have a U1 chip, which includes all of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.
Apple’s decision to open up access to the U1 chip in the iPhones for Find My will put third-party accessories that integrate Ultra Wideband on par with the rumored AirTags. AirTags will feature U1 chip support for more accurate tracking, according to rumors, so Apple will have no specific edge over competitors with the way that the Find My program is set up.
There has been some pushback from Tile on rumors of AirTags, so Apple likely wanted to avoid any kind of situation where it looked like its own accessories were getting special treatment not available to third-party accessories.
Apple says that its U1 specification will be available to device makers “later this spring,” so it will still be some time before we see Ultra Wideband-compatible accessories that work with the Find My app.