Right before Steve and I left to drive to Utah, Steve realized that he couldn’t find his iPhone. Car was packed, windshield was washed, and goodbyes were said to the animals – we were ready to go.
As one does, Steve used the side button on his Apple Watch and tapped the icon to ping his iPhone. But we didn’t hear the happy chime from his phone. This feature rarely fails us, and it was even more surprising because he has a brand-spanking-new iPhone 15 Pro and Apple Watch Series 9.
This year’s newly released iPhones and Apple Watches sport the second-generation Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip. This new chip is supposed to pinpoint the location even better than before. Instead of the watch just being able to ping the phone, the Apple Watch shows you an approximate distance as you look for it. It’s just like the kid’s game where you’re trying to find a hidden item and everyone is yelling “warmer … colder …”
Since Steve couldn’t hear his iPhone responding, he started wandering around the house while watching the distance change on his watch. Concurrently I used the tried-and-true method employed by spouses everywhere — I looked in all the weird places where I’d found Steve’s phone before. After a few frustrating and unsuccessful minutes, Steve and my searches converged near the downstairs powder room.
Steve said that the lowest distance he had been able to find was 9 feet, and it was while he was standing in the powder room.
I suddenly knew where it was. Like Khan in the second Star Trek Movie, we had been thinking in two dimensions. I decided to think outside of the plane and go directly upstairs from where Steve was standing. Sure enough, his phone was in our closet right above the powder room.
My goal in telling this story isn’t just to signal that I’m a Star Trek fan, but to hopefully put this little anecdote into the back of your brain just in case you’re ever searching for your phone with your watch. Think inside the box, but remember the box is three-dimensional.