Apple March event hype machine brings AirTags rumours
The latest developer beta once again shows sign of yet another now mythical product, the so called AirTags, small tracking accessories designed to work with the Find My app.
Can you find them?
Most Apple watchers will now be aware of these purported products which integrate low power trackers and work using the innovative mesh-based Find My system. After all, we’ve been discussing the existence, non-existence, imminent arrival and subsequent non-arrival of these things since around 2019 following WWDC.
Despite a drivel of column inches (including mine) exploring every imagined inch of these diminutive products, they haven’t yet arrived.
When you consider it, of course, while the hype surrounding these things pales into insignificance in comparison to that already surrounding Apple’s AR glasses, the Apple Car and future folding iPhones and iPads, the company has still invested a couple of years of meme management into crafting market awareness of something it hasn’t even introduced yet. It is good at that.
We knew of the iPhone, iPad, and Intel switch years before they took place, too. Apple runs a highly effective expectation management system.
Which brings us nicely to what to expect:
The latest iOS 14.5 developer beta has introduced a new ‘Items’ tab in the Find My app, with a series of icons you can personalize for different things, such as headphones, luggage, backpacks and so on.
If you are using an iPad or iPhone running iOS 14 you can get to these tabs by opening Safari and entering findmy://items in the browser bar. You’ll be asked if you want to open FindMy and when you do you’ll see new icons appear. Hey Presto:
MacRumors tells us the latest version of the app inside the dev beta also includes new notification settings and lets you find the last-known location of a device if they are not connected to a network at that time.
How they work
AirTags are small, low power devices that work with Apple’s Find My system. It is thought they will enable people to find lost and stolen items easily using that system.
It is thought AirTags use a similar tech to that used in Google/Apple’s contact tracking system.
They rely on secured Bluetooth transmissions that turn Apple’s iOS devices into a form of location detection network. The idea is that the location of lost devices can be obtained by someone so long as they log into the system using their approved Apple ID. No private information is otherwise shared.
It will be interesting to see how Apple brings these things to market. Will they be:
- As standalone devices
- Made for Find My program in which manufacturers build support into items, such as keyring?
- As standalone/third party devices as a service, charging a fee?
- We’ll find out soon, maybe.
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