New Macs, iPads have a secret component Apple won’t talk about – 9to5Mac

In the age of YouTube tear-downs, it’s not often that Apple is able to hide a component of its devices from users who go searching for info. However, that’s exactly what has happened with the latest M3 Mac models and M4 iPad Pros…until today.

As reported by The Verge, many of the newest Macs and iPads contain a secret Thread radio that Apple isn’t saying anything about.

Secret component discovered in M4 iPad Pros, M3 Macs

Jennifer Pattison Tuohy writes for The Verge:

When Apple announced the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max last fall, the company surprised everyone by putting a Thread radio in its top-of-the-line smartphones. Now, it turns out Apple also quietly added this important smart home radio to several new Macs and iPads released since September 2023.

While the company doesn’t list Thread on the specs of any of these products, FCC reports indicate that many of Apple’s latest devices have had Thread radios tested for compliance. Generally, you don’t test a radio that’s not there.

The report outlines how evidence of this Thread radio was found in a variety of modern iPads and Macs, including the M4 iPad Pro, M3 MacBook Pros, M3 iMacs, M2 iPad Air, and more.

The Verge reached out to Apple for comment multiple times with no response. 9to5Mac has also reached out to Apple for comment, but we have not heard anything.

What could this Thread radio be for?

When Apple added the Thread radio to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, it shared very little explanation, saying only the following:

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max…introduce the first Thread-enabled smartphones, opening up future opportunities for Home app integrations.

We have yet to see what any of those Home app integrations could be, but it’s very possible iOS 18 will give us the first glimpse.

If Apple has new, advanced Home-related features coming to its upcoming software versions, and those features require a dedicated Thread radio, we will likely find out about them next week.

It would be a nice surprise to find that rather than requiring new hardware, the devices you already own can offer those new features thanks to the secret Thread radio.

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