What’s an AirTag? Apple’s new trackers

Rumors of a Tile competitor from Apple stretch back to 2019, and the pieces started to fall into place for Apple watchers after AirTag tech was hinted at in the iOS 13 code and when the iPhone 11 was discovered to have incorporated ultra wideband, or UWB, technology. The groundwork for the gadget was laid even farther back, in 2014, with the iBeacon, a small, cheap Bluetooth transmitter that aimed to provide location-primarily based data and companies to iPhones. While Bluetooth can track items to within about 5 meters, UWB can pinpoint them to within 5 to 10 centimeters.

What’s an AirTag?

The AirTag works equally to the Tile tag in that you would be able to clip one of many small units onto keys, a bag or whatever utilizing a separate keychain. The tag can be utilized without the keychain as well and slipped into a wallet or bag. The AirTag could be paired with items like your iPhone, and it works with the Find My app.

The AirTag is a small, lightweight, stainless metal disc with the Apple logo on one side. You may personalize the other side with a free engraving. The new device can also be water and dust resistant, with a removable cover designed to make it easy to alter the CR2032 battery, which promises a year’s price of battery life with on a regular basis use.

How does the AirTag work?

After you set up the AirTag (here’s how), a process Apple says works the same as pairing AirPods, it’ll appear in the new items tab of the Find My app. You possibly can name your items as well, with options from the app or names of your own.

From there, you’ll be able to see the item’s final known location if you happen to’ve connected an AirTag to it. If the item is within Bluetooth range, you should use the Discover My app to signal the AirTag’s constructed-in speaker to play a sound. AirTags also have Siri-support, so your iOS assistant might help you locate the misplaced item.

The tags and the Find My app take advantage of Apple’s U1 chip with Ultra Wideband technology to make use of Precision Discovering, a feature that depends on camera input, ARKit, accelerometer and gyroscope to guide you to your AirTag using sound and haptic and visual feedback. With the Find My app, you may get helpful notes like what number of feet away your AirTag is and in what direction. Precision Discovering also has a voice-over option to assist low-vision or blind users.

Throughout its AirTag announcement final week, Apple touched on privacy. The company said individuals can participate within the Discover My network without having to share their location with anyone, together with Apple. Carolyn Wolfman-Estrada, an engineer at Apple, said safety features are in place that discourage unwanted tracking.

“AirTag is designed to track items, not people,” Wolfman-Estrada said throughout the Apple spring event.

AirTags do not store any location data or history, and communication history by way of the Discover My app is finish-to-finish encrypted, in line with Apple.

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