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Apple's AirPods Max likely lacks U1 Ultra Wideband chip

Contrary to rumors leading up to Tuesday's AirPods Max release, the high-end headphone does not appear to incorporate Apple's U1 Ultra Wideband chip for orientation awareness.

Though it features a slew of sensors, AirPods Max lacks Apple's specialized U1-based positioning technology, according to a device specifications webpage.

Apple notes each ear cup holds an optical sensor, position sensor, case-detect sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope and microphones. The type of position sensor used in AirPods Max is not revealed, but if the company did include a U1 chip — generally referred to as a positioning system — it would likely be referenced by name in the tech specs breakdown.

The impressive suite of onboard sensors provides a basis for advanced features like Spatial Audio and on-head detection.

MacRumors in a report today said it independently confirmed the absence of Apple's U1. Customary teardowns should provide a definitive answer in the coming weeks.

Previous rumors claimed the incorporation of Ultra Wideband technology would allow AirPods Max to "sense" how a user wears the headphone, negating the need for dedicated left and right drivers. The U1 would also facilitate integration with a rumored update to the Find My app that is expected to support so-called "AirTags" trackers.

Apple unveiled AirPods Max early today via press release. Priced at $549, the wireless headphones boast two H1 chips for processing computational and adaptive audio, an array of nine microphones that inform active noise cancelling and transparency modes, 40-mm Apple-designed dynamic drivers, memory foam ear cushions, a 20-hour battery and more.