Apple accidentally leaks Tile-like tracking ‘AirTags’

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If there’s a helpful gadget out there, chances are Apple will try to make one of its own. Although Tile’s trackers aren’t exactly the most popular items, Apple is working on a tracking chip of its own.

Thanks to an accidental leak in a since-deleted support video, consumers now have confirmation that the gadgets will be called “AirTags.” For now, the technical specs remain a mystery. However, the accidental reveal supplied some hints about how Apple’s new tracking tags might work.

Find My Anything

The “Find My” feature baked into Apple devices is extremely helpful. Integrating it with the Apple Watch made it even more useful. Now, imagine using that technology to locate your keys, wallet, or other commonly-misplaced items.

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With Apple’s forthcoming AirTags, that will be possible.

The support video that Apple posted contained a rendering of the Find My iPhone screen. It shows a toggle switch for an “Enable Offline Finding” option. Below that, it says “Offline finding enables this device and AirTags to be found when not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular.”

Previous rumors suggested that the tracking chip would be called AirTags. Others speculated that the gadget would go by the name Apple Tags. This snippet not only confirms the AirTags branding but also hints at how the tracking chips will work.

The ability to locate items offline suggests that AirTags will utilize ultra-wideband Bluetooth technology. This feature enables precise location data that doesn’t rely on an Internet connection. Moreover, it is used in the iPhone 11’s U1 chips.

Accordingly, it is widely believed that AirTags will use the same chip. The gadget is rumored to be a circular disc, offering a sleeker form than Tile’s “squircle” design.

Thanks to code identified in a previous iOS beta build, consumers should also look forward to augmented reality (AR) capabilities. Although it isn’t clear exactly how this will work, iPhone and iPad users will be able to use their device to more easily find missing items.

AirTags Release Window

Despite the fairly obvious leak, Apple still hasn’t officially announced AirTags. This means that the tracking chips don’t have a release date or price tag.

With that in mind, the fact that they are appearing in support videos suggests that a product launch isn’t far off. In fact, Apple may be ready to launch the product and is simply waiting for the world to settle down before doing so.

There is a high likelihood that AirTags will launch in 2020. Still, it depends on Apple’s production line not seeing too much disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. In mid-March, it appeared that the company’s supply chain had taken a severe hit after several chipmakers temporarily suspended their operations.

Fortunately, recent reports suggest a more positive outlook. TSMC is set to begin mass-producing the 5nm A13 chips for Apple’s next-gen iPhones. Meanwhile, several suppliers claim that there won’t be a delay in the production of Apple’s first 5G iPhone.

A stabilizing supply chain is good news for AirTags. Keep an eye out for an official product announcement in the coming weeks.

1 COMMENT

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