Apple imagines an ultrasound-based system to improve AirDrop July 15, 2020 – Posted in: Smartphone news


AirDrop is one of the most practical features of the Apple ecosystem. Reminder: This way you can easily transfer files from one device to another if they are nearby. With the U1 chip used by the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple smartphones can determine the position of another device under closer proximity. If the introduction of the U1 chip, which complements Bluetooth and Wifi, has already been a big step forward, it does not mean that Apple can no longer improve the communication system between its devices.

And of course, one day the company could launch a system based on sending and receiving ultrasound signals to help an iPhone more accurately determine the distance that another device is nearby. As stated on the Apple Insider website, this new idea is described in a patent recently released by the American Intellectual Property Office.

A better estimate of the distances between two devices

The invention relates to an ultrasound range for mobile devices. A mobile device using ultrasound telemetry may include an ultrasound transmitter that can transmit an ultrasound signal for detection by a nearby device and an ultrasound receiver that can receive an ultrasound signal from the nearby device. The mobile device can then use a period of time associated with one or both of these ultrasound signals to determine an area relative to the nearby device. “we can read in the summary of the document. The information obtained from this system of ultrasound transceivers could enable Apple to improve the functionality of transfers between devices using appropriate signal strengths relative to the exact distance.

At the moment, of course, it’s just a patent. The presence does not necessarily mean that Apple will use ultrasound to improve AirDrop. However, this shows that the company is always looking for new technologies to improve this transfer system.

With improvements to AirDrop, the company has always been one step ahead of the Android ecosystem. Google is currently testing a new version of the Android 11 operating system in beta. And this beta shows that Mountain View is preparing to launch an AirDrop-like transfer mechanism that will facilitate file transfer between Android smartphones.