The New iPhone: Indoor Positioning with UWB

Like every year, there are a lot of rumors regarding the design and features of the new iPhone models that are expected to be released in fall 2019. Especially one feature could be beneficial for indoor positioning.

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True to our report, all iPhone 11 models include an Ultra-wideband chip, opening up possibilities for a variety of uses for highly precise location finding. It should also pave the way for the future launch of Apple’s rumored item tracking tags.

In addition to the speculated frosted glass case, wireless, bilateral charging and triple camera, there will likely be a new feature which is particularly relevant for indoor positioning.

It is assumed that the new iPhone will support ultra-wideband (UWB) which enables highly precise indoor localization and thus better indoor navigation. So far, client-based indoor positioning is realized mainly using Wi-Fi (only possible for Android smartphones) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). These technologies can locate assets and people with an accuracy of 5-15m and 1-3m respectively.

comparison positioning technologies
infsoft comparison of different technologies for client-based indoor positioning


UWB makes indoor positioning with an accuracy of less than 30cm possible. Additionally, latency is lower compared to other technologies. This means that smartphones can be located reliably, even when they are moving around quickly.

So far, indoor positioning with UWB is mainly used in industrial environments because the costs for the hardware are comparably high. The possibility to locate smartphones with high precision and low latency unveils a number of new use cases.

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