MIA at Apple event: Tracking tags, reverse charging and more

By

AirPods 2 pairing with iPhone
Sadly, your AirPods can’t charge off your iPhone 11.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple’s press event today included the iPhone 11 series as well as updated iPad and Apple Watch versions. However, some rumored devices, features and accessories failed to materialize.

Most notably, the company didn’t announce a line of item-tracking tags, and the latest iPhones can’t wirelessly charge other devices. And there are other predictions that didn’t come true.

No Apple Tags or reverse wireless charging

Supposedly buried in iOS 13 are references to Apple Tags, small trackers that can attached to items so they can be easily located later. While it’s possible these will be released later, there was no reference to them made at today’s press event.

Apple may have considered adding reverse wireless charging to the 2019 iPhone line at some point. If so, it looks like Apple dropped idea long ago. The unveiling of the iPhone 11 series came and went without any mention.

This rumored feature would allow Apple’s handsets to wirelessly transfer power to other Qi-compatible devices. That means an iPhone could juice up AirPods (in a wireless charging case) or even give a friend’s iPhone an emergency boost.

Other Apple event no-shows

The much-anticipated 10.2-inch iPad was a star of this morning’s event, but there was no sign of any iPad Pros.  A Eurasian intergovernmental agency’s database includes references to seven upcoming Apple tablet configurations, far more than can be explained with one model.  However, Apple did not reveal any other iPads today. Obviously, Cupertino could announce new iPad Pros later — maybe during a follow-up hardware event next month —  but that raises the question about why the company already took the wraps off one slate.

Earlier this summer, we heard shaky rumors that the iPhone 11 Pro models — the replacements for the iPhone XS and XS Max — would include support for a redesigned Apple Pencil. This would make them head-to-head competition for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, which comes with an active stylus. But it didn’t happen.

A recent unconfirmed report indicated that sleep tracking will come to Apple Watch as part of a growing arsenal of health-related features. While this still could come later, we heard nary a peep about it during this morning’s event.

The first new Apple TV set-top box in two years is supposedly in development. This might have been unveiled as the cost and launch date for the Apple TV+ streaming video service were being revealed, but not so.

It’s not impossible that more announcements could be coming before the end of the year. There was a second press event in October 2018, for example. If so, some of these MIA products could get their time to shine.