Apple’s fall product launch will include a tiny gadget with a big responsibility: knowing the whereabouts of your devices when you lose them.
AirTags, a circular Bluetooth tracking keychain attachment similar to Tile, got on the radar of supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who reported news Tuesday on the supplier charged with producing the circuitry.
Kuo claims Apple is contracting with Universal Scientific Industrial to fulfill 60 percent of orders for what will be Apple’s newest and smallest piece of hardware. Kuo’s predictions were released in a research report to investors, which was obtained by Cult of Mac..
AirTags and devices to track
“We think that USI has the most comprehensive product lines and highest shipment allocation overall,” Kuo wrote. “Therefore, we believe that USI will be the significant SiP (System in Product) winner in the Apple SIP supply chain in 2020.
“We expect that USI will ship SiP for UWB tag starting 2–3Q20 and that the shipment level will reach tens of millions in 2020.”
It’s possible Apple may report on the eventual debut of AirTags at a rumored March product launch event, but Kuo says it is more likely an announcement is planned for the World Wide Developers Conference in June.
USI is also likely to be a new supplier of AirPods Pro and ship sometime in the second half of the year, Kuo said. USI is also likely to step in by fulfilling significant antenna orders for 5G iPhones.
The arrival of AirTags is more than a rumor. Cult of Mac reported in October Apple had purchased the rights to the name AirTag. There was also reference to AirTags in an iOS beta.
These predictions, Kuo warns, are contingent on health officials in China making significant progress on containing COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has claimed more than 1,800 lives and infected another 73,000 plus.
The coronavirus has locked down much of China in quarantine. Most Apple products, especially the iPhone, rely heavily on China’s supply chain, much of which remains shut down. Production is slowly ramping up, but the impact of the outbreak has forced Apple to tell investors is doesn’t expect to meet March quarter revenue goals.