AirTag

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AirTag
Apple AirTag logo.svg
Apple AirTag.svg
An Apple AirTag
DeveloperApple
ManufacturerFoxconn
TypeKey finder
Release dateApril 20, 2021; 54 days ago (2021-04-20)
Retail availabilityApril 30, 2021; 44 days ago (2021-04-30)
Introductory price$29 individual; $99 for 4 pack
ConnectivityBluetooth Low Energy
Ultra-wideband via U1 chip
Near-field communication[1]
PowerCR2032 button cell
Current firmware1.0.276
Online servicesFind My network
DimensionsDiameter: 31.9 mm (1.26 in)
Thickness: 8 mm (0.31 in)
Mass11 g (0.39 oz)
Websitewww.apple.com/airtag/

AirTag is a tracking device developed by Apple. AirTag is designed to act as a key finder, helping people find personal objects (e.g. keys, bags, apparel, small electronic devices, vehicles). To locate lost items, AirTags leverage Apple's crowdsourced Find My network, estimated in early 2021 to consist of approximately one billion devices worldwide that detect and anonymously report emitted Bluetooth signals.[2] AirTags are compatible with any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device capable of running iOS/iPadOS 14.5 or later. Using the built-in U1 chip on iPhone 11 (excluding iPhone SE 2nd generation) or later, users can more precisely locate items using UWB (ultra-wideband) technology. AirTag was announced on April 20, 2021, made available for pre-order on April 23, and released on April 30.[3]

History[edit]

The product was first rumored to be under development in April 2019. In February 2020, it was reported that Asahi Kasei was prepared to supply Apple with tens of millions of ultra-wideband (UWB) parts for the rumored AirTag in the second and third quarters of 2020, though the shipment was ultimately delayed.[4] On April 2, 2020, a YouTube video on Apple Support[5] page also confirmed AirTag.[6] In Apple's iOS 14.0 release, code was discovered that described the reusable and removable battery that would be used in the AirTag.[7][8] In March 2021, MacWorld stated that iOS 14.5 beta's Find My user interface included "Items" and "Accessories" features meant for AirTag support for a user's "backpack, luggage, headphones" and other objects.[9] AppleInsider noted that the beta included safety warnings for "unauthorized AirTags" persistently in the user's vicinity.[10]

Features[edit]

AirTag set up on iOS

AirTags can be interacted with using the Find My app. Users may trigger the AirTag to play a sound from the app. iPhones equipped with the U1 chip (iPhone 11 or later, excluding the iPhone SE 2020) can use "Precision Tracking" to provide direction to and precise distance from an AirTag. Precision Tracking utilizes ultra-wideband.[3]

AirTags can be located on a map within the Find My app by utilizing Bluetooth signals from other anonymous iOS and iPadOS devices out in the world. To help prevent unwanted tracking, an iOS/iPadOS device will alert their owner if someone else's AirTag seems to be with them, instead of with the AirTag's owner, for too long.[11] If an AirTag is out of range of any Apple device for more than 8 to 24 hours[12], it will begin to beep to alert a person that an AirTag may have been placed in their possessions.[13]

Users can mark an AirTag as lost and provide a phone number and a message. Any iPhone user can see this phone number and message with the "identify lost item" feature within the Find My app which utilizes near-field communication (NFC) technology. Additionally, Android phones with NFC can identify an AirTag with a tap, which will redirect to a website containing the message and phone number.[3]

AirTag requires an Apple ID and iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later.[14] It uses the CR2032 button cell replaceable with one year of battery life. The maximum range of Bluetooth tracking is estimated to be around 100 meters. The water-resistance of an AirTag is rated IP67 water and dust; an AirTag can withstand 30 minutes of water immersion in standard laboratory conditions. Each Apple ID is limited to 16 AirTags.[7]

Reception[edit]

Unwanted tracking[edit]

Despite Apple including technologies to help prevent unwanted tracking or stalking, The Washington Post found that it was "frighteningly easy" to bypass the systems put in place. Concerns included the built-in audible alarm taking three days to sound, and that most Americans had Android devices that would not receive alerts similar to iPhone devices.[15] It is also possible to disable the speaker by opening up the tag with force and removing the speaker magnet. The AirTag does not detect this kind of modification, and the feature which is meant to warn non-iPhone users of unwanted tracking is thereby disabled.[16]

Tile[edit]

Similar product manufacturer Tile criticized Apple for using similar technologies and designs to Tile's trackers.[11] Spokespeople for Tile made a testimony to the United States Congress saying that Apple was supporting "anti-competitive practices",[17] claiming that Apple had done this in the past and that they think it is "entirely appropriate for Congress to take a closer look at Apple’s business practices".[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Apple event: AirTag, iPad and iMac lead line-up". BBC News. April 20, 2021. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
  2. ^ Chan, Christine (April 20, 2021). "Apple AirTags vs. Tile Mate: Which should you buy?". iMore. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Panzarino, Matthew (April 22, 2021). "First findings with Apple's new AirTag location devices". TechCrunch.
  4. ^ Haslam, Oliver (February 19, 2020). "Apple To Ramp Up UWB Chip Production For AirTags In Q2-Q3 2020". Redmond Pie.
  5. ^ "Exclusive: AirTags confirmed in a new Apple Support Video!". Appleosophy. April 2, 2020. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  6. ^ "Apple accidentally confirms the existence of an unreleased product, AirTags". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Clover, Juli (June 3, 2021). "AirTags: Apple's New Trackers - Everything We Know". MacRumors. Archived from the original on May 12, 2021. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  8. ^ Lumb, D.; Swider, M. (November 2, 2020), "Apple AirTags release date, price and how it'll compare to Tile", TechRadar, retrieved November 2, 2020
  9. ^ "Apple AirTags rumors: iOS 14.5 can track 'Items' in the Find My app", MacWorld, March 3, 2021
  10. ^ William Gallagher (March 4, 2021), "Apple brings back 'AirTags' anti-stalking feature in latest iOS 14.5 beta", AppleInsider
  11. ^ a b Haselton, Todd (April 27, 2021). "Here's how Apple's AirTag trackers compare to Tile, and why the company is so upset with Apple". CNBC. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  12. ^ Clark, Mitchell (June 3, 2021). "Apple is updating AirTags to make them less creepy". The Verge. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  13. ^ Gruber, John (April 20, 2021). "Three day audible alert when tag separated from owner". Daring Fireball. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  14. ^ May 2021, Michael Hicks 03. "How to use AirTags with iOS 14.5". TechRadar. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
  15. ^ "Review | Apple's AirTag trackers made it frighteningly easy to 'stalk' me in a test". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
  16. ^ Video on YouTube
  17. ^ "Tile bemoans Apple AirTags launch, raises antitrust concerns". AppleInsider. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
  18. ^ "Tile bashes Apple's new AirTag as unfair competition". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 8, 2021.

External links[edit]