Apple just took the wraps off AirTag, a small tracker that users can attach to items for easy location at a later date.
Tile and other companies already offer rivals products. But Apple’s trackers offer technology that makes finding lost items easier and more accurate.
The most obvious use for item trackers is attached to car keys. But they also can go on TV remotes, purses, backpacks … any item that can be easily misplaced.
An AirTag is made of polished stainless steel, and is IP67 water- and dust-resistant. A removable cover allows users to replace the battery.
AirTag to the rescue
AirTag includes ultra-wideband technology, in which radio signals are broadcast across a broad swath of the radio spectrum. UWB can be used for tracking items, with the distance between the sender and receiver being determined with great accuracy. In addition, UWB travels well through walls.
AirTag is tightly integrated into iOS 14.5, which includes a new version of the Find My application that shows the location of friends and family as well as tracking misplaced iPhones and iPads.
AirTags appear in a new Items tag in the Find My app. This allows users to order a tracking tag to play a sound, making the device easier to find. But that’s just the start. The software uses an onscreen pointer to guide the user to the exact location of a misplaced item. The accuracy of UWB should really come in handy here.
If an item gets really lost, not just misplaced, AirTags can still help it be found. Any iPhone, not just the owner’s, can find a tag and notify the owner where it is.
“With its design, unparalleled finding experience, and built-in privacy and security features, AirTag will provide customers with another way to leverage the power of the Apple ecosystem and enhance the versatility of iPhone,” said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing.
Apple AirTag will be available Friday, April 30 for $29. A set of four is $99. Pre-orders start Friday, April 23.