TechCrunch then reached out to Apple and managed to extract an explanation. It turns out its to do with ultra wideband tech inside the new handset which might be something to do with Apple’s upcoming tag product. A spokesperson told TechCrunch:
“Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations. iOS uses Location Services to help determine if an iPhone is in these prohibited locations in order to disable ultra wideband and comply with regulations. The management of ultra wideband compliance and its use of location data is done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data.”
It’s not clear if this is limited to the iPhone 11 Pro
Apple is saying that none of this location data is sent to a remote server, which is why it might be that the company didn’t see it as a problem or a privacy concern for users in the first place. As TechCrunch rightly notes in its report, its odd that Apple stalled so long on what is a fairly simple explanation.