Apple is officially launching a tile-like item tracker that will work with the company’s software and services. Dubbed with AirTag, the small circular tag allows you to track items in Apple’s “Find My” app on iOS. Like Tile, Apple’s AirTags are useful for tracking items such as keys or wallets, and you will get notifications when you are separated from your item.
The AirTag itself is a small puck-like device with a built-in speaker, accelerometer, Bluetooth LE, and a user-replaceable battery. Apple says the tracker should have a year of battery life, and you can use an NFC tap to activate a lost mode.
AirTag is available for $ 29 on April 30, or $ 99 for a package of four devices. Apple is also working with accessory manufacturers to create luggage tags and key ring cases for the AirTag itself.
Details about AirTags first appeared in instances of the iOS 13 beta almost two years ago, and the AirTags name was also noticed in iOS 13.2. Apple also accidentally confirmed the AirTags name in a deleted support video last year. After the rumors, it took Apple a significant amount of time to realize AirTags.
Apple will clearly compete with Tile with its AirTags, but the location tracking company has been trying to embed its technology directly into Bluetooth chips in recent years. Tile previously worked with Qualcomm, Dialog Semiconductor, Silicon Labs and Toshiba to include Tile compatibility as an option on devices. Tile has also embedded its location tracking network into gadgets from Boosted and Bose, and is preparing its own AirTags competitor to help you find lost items through walls.
Apple will certainly face some competition from Tile’s wider range here, but deeper integration with iOS and iPhones will pose a significant challenge to Tile and other competitors, such as Samsung’s $ 29.99 Galaxy SmartTags. Apple’s launch of AirTags comes nearly a year after Tile filed a complaint with the European Commission, accusing Apple of anti-competitive behavior. Tile claims that Apple’s iOS 13.5 update to Bluetooth settings has subordinated third-party tracking products in favor of Apple’s own Find My app which doesn’t include the same restrictions by default.
Apple has vigorously denied the allegations, and the company even recently opened up its Find My app to third-party products. Devices must comply with Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) accessory rules, so companies must apply to become certified and have their products tracked in the Find My app. Apple also offers a third-party chipset specification to integrate with the Ultra-Wideband found in Apple’s latest iPhones.
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