The long rumoured AirTags from Apple are now official. The product is a tiny Tile-like device, which is meant to make it easier to find your Apple devices. It works with the Find My app to find various devices on your iCloud account. Apple’s Airtags have been expected for quite a while now, and will function even better with iPhones that have the U1 ultra wideband chip inside them. This chip was introduced with the iPhone 11 series and enhances the Bluetooth precision for iPhones and other Apple products that use them, like the AirPods.
What do you mean by ‘Tile-like’?
The concept behind Airtags was in a way made popular by a startup called Tile, which sells tiny square-shaped devices that can be attached to a keychain etc. in order to keep track of them through your phone. While Apple’s Airtags are circular, they too can fit in various accessories, like a keychain. Apple’s launch video, for instance, showed a man finding his keys using the Airtags and the Find My app.
Apple stated that the AirTags will only work with iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch running iOS 14.5 or above. Further, Apple says the Airtags will function better with iPhones that have the U1 chip. Apple calls this “Precision Finding” and it will allow more minute monitoring of devices near you. “This advanced technology can more accurately determine the distance and direction to a lost AirTag when it is in range. As a user moves, Precision Finding fuses input from the camera, ARKit, accelerometer, and gyroscope, and then will guide them to AirTag using a combination of sound, haptics, and visual feedback,” the company said.
The iPhone maker is also offering a chipset specification for third parties to use the U1 chip for similar products. The company had announced a Find My Accessory program earlier this month, meaning more such accessories will be coming by the end of the year.
While Apple will definitely face some competition from Tile and other such trackers on the market, the company could provide better service through deeper integration in the iOS ecosystem. This is something Apple has excelled at over its lifetime, so don’t be surprised if we hear that millions of iPhones have been sold in the next few months.
South Korean smartphone maker, Samsung, had also launched a similar product for its Galaxy devices a few days ago. The Samsung product — called Galaxy SmartTag+ — cost the same as Apple’s Airtags in the US, at $29.99. Neither product has India launch dates at the moment, but Apple usually sends an update for India by the end of its live event, so stay tuned to this page.
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