iPhone 11's U1 Chip Could Spark a Revolution

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You wouldn’t know it because it wasn’t mentioned during the iPhone 11 keynote, but the new iPhones have a new chip. Called Ultra Wideband, or “U1” it’s a way for iPhones to figure out their position in 3D space relative to other U1 devices. Apple mentions the use-case of a person pointing their U1 iPhone at another U1 iPhone to send files over AirDrop. Jason Snell writes that this is just the beginning.

But the possible applications of UWB go way beyond AirDrop and tracking tags. Decawave’s Viot says potential applications include smart home tech, augmented reality, mobile payments, the aforementioned keyless car entry, and even indoor navigation. (And it’s not a power hog, either—Viot says that Decawave’s latest UWB chip uses one-third of the power of a Bluetooth LE chip when in beacon mode, as a tracking tile would be.)

Hong Kong Protesters Use AirDrop to Bypass Great Firewall

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Hong Kong protesters have been using AirDrop has a way to get around China’s Great Firewall. They can send messages to Chinese people this way, like information on the protests, pro-democracy messages, and even information about the Tiananmen massacre of 1989.

“Did you know? Over the past month, Hong Kong has seen three massive rallies, with as many as 2 million people taking to the streets,” read one such AirDropped poster. “Don’t wait until [freedom] is gone to regret its loss. Freedom isn’t god-given; it is fought for by the people.”

Help People with Insecure AirDrop Settings in PetDrop Club

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I kind of love PetDrop Club. And by kind of, I mean I totally love PetDrop Club. This is more an idea than anything else and it works like this. “Find strangers with insecure inbound AirDrop settings, and send them kind, fluffy reminders that some people are nice, and maybe also to update their settings.” How do you do that? By sharing an image and looking for AirDrop recipients you don’t know. Or, put another way, “Reward strangers for their lack of device privacy by sending them pictures of your dog.” The site for PetClub Drop is funny, but the issue behind it is more serious. Folks who don’t lock down AirDrops to their Contacts (or turn it off) run the risk of having strangers drop all manner of unwanted stuff on their devices. There’s a PetDrop Club Google Group, too, though there’s no activity yet.

Help People with Insecure AirDrop Settings in PetDrop Club

How to Change Your iPhone and iPad's Name for AirDrop

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Give your iPhone or iPad a unique name to avoid AirDrop file sharing confusion

AirDrop is handy for sharing files between your devices, like your iPhone and iPad. If there are lots of other devices nearby named “iPhone” or “iPad,” just like yours, it’s time to change your iPhone’s name so you know those files are going to the right place. Luckily, that’s easy to do. Follow along to learn how.