AirTags – the object tracker that has been rumored to be in development hell at Apple for years now – may finally get in the hands of customers in 2021. As per rumors, they might finally be launched later this month alongside new iPads and AirPods Pro. So far, leaks have given us a glimpse of their purported design, and their arrival has also been hinted at by the latest iOS beta updates. In case you’re psyched about the upcoming Apple product, here’s everything we know about the AirTags so far: 

Starting with the design, the AirTags will reportedly be disc-shaped with an Apple logo at the center on one side. As per images extracted from iOS internal builds, the AirTags will have a round profile. And as per renders shared by tipster Jon Prosser, the object tracker will have a white paint job on one side, while the other side will have a metallic finish with an Apple logo and other text-based details alongside the periphery. 

And from what we’ve seen in the form of AirTags accessories made by the likes of Spigen, they indeed will have a rounded profile. As for the competition, the Samsung SmartThings tracker and those from Tile offer a rectangular outline. There are also rumors floating around that the AirTags might arrive in two sizes.

So, how will the AirTags work? They will be Bluetooth-based and will reportedly come with an Apple chip inside to quickly pair with your iPhone or other compatible devices for checking the location information and track the devices they are attached to – which can be anything from a pet to a school bag. 

Recent leaks courtesy of iOS updates suggest that the AirTags will be accessible from the “Items” tab in the Find My app. This will be the destination where all your Apple devices and those tethered to the AirTags will appear. These objects will be visible on the map, complete with an address where they can be found.

Once you get a notification that an item with an AirTag has been lost, you can cause it to play a loud chime so that you can locate it. You will able to set Safe Locations in the Find My app, and once your tracker leaves that safe location, a notification will be sent on your phone. The AirTags will reportedly employ the Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology for spatial awareness that will make them more accurate compared to regular Bluetooth-based trackers. iPhones come with the U1 chip inside, and it is quite likely that the AirTags will also employ one.

AirTags in black and white

Apple might also employ its ARKIt and bake some augmented reality features such as an overlay on the map or viewfinder to help you locate the lost item more easily. Leaks suggest that the locations in Find My app’s map view will be identifiable by a balloon(s). Here’s what Apple’s own patent application says about its object tracker plans:

“The tag may include a battery, sensors, a wireless communication system, and one or more output devices that can produce audible and/or haptic outputs. Localization functions may be provided by the wireless communication system, and in particular, by the tag sending wireless signals to other devices (e.g., smartphones, tablet computers, etc.) that analyze the wireless signals to determine the distance, position, location, and/or orientation of the tag with a high degree of accuracy.”

And in case your AirtTags go out of range and you can’t locate it using the Find My app, you can still find them. If another iPhone user comes in the range of your lost AirTags, their phone will show them your details so that they can get in touch and relay the details about your AirTags via text or any other medium they deem appropriate. However, you will first have to enable Lost Mode when your AirTags go out of the tracking range.

AirTags
Image: 9to5Mac

On the other hand, there might be a “normal operation mode” as well that will establish momentary or internment communications with other devices to verify their location. Additionally, there is also a chance that the AirTags could be placed on a user’s body to track body movement for tasks such as workouts or even control games.

There is no concrete information as to how AirTags will be charged. Some rumors suggest that the AirTags will require a charging puck similar to that of the Apple Watch. However, some reports suggest they will feature replaceable coin-shaped batteries that could last a year of usage. As for how much Apple’s object-trackers will cost, we expect them to cost anywhere around $30 to $50 based on what rivals command. 

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By ASNF