Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Apple’s Macs and iPads Equipped with Thread Chip



Apple has integrated a new chip in several of its current devices. What’s the purpose of this chip? The iPhone manufacturer has not yet revealed any details, but speculations abound concerning this technology that has made its way into selected Macs and iPads.

The Thread chip has been available since the iPhone 15 Pro (review) and Pro Max (review) were unveiled, supposedly opening up “future possibilities for home app integrations”. The Verge recently discovered that the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max were not the only devices armed with the Thread chip.

Apple’s mobile devices with chips for smart homes

When browsing through various documents of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), The Verge noticed Apple had tested these radio chips in its hardware for Thread, the smart home protocol. Thread is one of the foundations for the Matter standard, which is used by an increasing number of devices in the smart home. These tests by the Federal Communications Commission FCC are hence, unsurprising.

However, it was surprising these tests were conducted on existing MacBooks, iMacs, and iPads. In other words, these devices were also equipped with the Thread chip. Apple did not respond to The Verge’s inquiries about the matter, and neither has Apple listed the chip in the technical specifications of its devices.

According to The Verge, the necessary radio hardware is included in the following Apple devices:

  • iPad Pro, 13-inch (M4, Wi-Fi + Cellular)
  • iPad Pro, 11-inch (M4, Wi-Fi + Cellular)
  • iPad Pro, 11-inch (M4, Wi-Fi)
  • iPad Air, 11-inch (M2, Wi-Fi + Cellular)
  • iPad Air, 13-inch (M2, Wi-Fi)
  • MacBook Air, 15-inch (M3)
  • MacBook Pro, 14-inch (M3)
  • MacBook Pro, 14-inch (M3 Pro or M3 Max)
  • MacBook Pro, 16-inch (M3 Pro or M3 Max)
  • iMac (M3, two ports)
  • iMac (M3, four ports)

It looks like Thread has been a solid component of Apple’s hardware for several years now. For example, the HomePod mini was equipped with such a chip since its introduction, allowing the control of lamps, sensors, and other smart home devices.

It is therefore conceivable that Apple wants to enable its hardware to control these IoT devices directly via the Home app on a Mac or iPad in the future. Another possible explanation is how chips for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are increasingly compatible with Thread. Otherwise, it could simply be easier and cheaper for Apple to implement these three-in-one solutions.

The Verge described a third possibility as well: Thread properties such as low-power consumption and low latency, also allow themselves to be a decent solution outside of smart homes. For instance, it could be used in smartwatches, medical devices, or fitness trackers, as well as AirTags, keyboards, and mice paired with Apple’s computers and tablets via Thread in the future.

Are you excited to see how Apple will maximize the use of the Thread chip in its devices? Please let us know in the comments how else the inclusion of Thread can benefit you.



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