Two separate leaks Thursday provide new details about Apple’s forthcoming AirTags, circular Bluetooth tracking devices that will help users find lost keys and other items.
iOS leaker @Soybeys posted what supposedly are some of the sound effects Apple will use for AirTags. A second report from Twitter user @blue_kanikam says AirTags will utilize a custom R1 chip, similar to the iPhone 11’s U1 chip, to know where the tiny tracking tags are spatially in order to work with other devices.
Before I go um, I remember I promised you all something about AirTag’s sounds? Listen with volume here. Thank you everyone for being amazing. I will probably have some more posts hopefully later today. pic.twitter.com/LwbvlxqfSL
— Soybeys (@Soybeys) June 18, 2020
Both pieces of information seem to have been found by scouring iOS code, although it is not clear whether this was discovered in iOS 13.5 or a leaked version of iOS 14.
How will AirTags sound?
The sound cues — which will play on the connected device like an iPhone or iPad — give some indication of how the system will work when a user tries to find an object attached to an AirTag. One sound cue will reportedly play when the AirTag is directly in front of you. Another will play if you move away from the AirTag in the wrong direction. Still another will play if you’re extremely close. A different tone will play if you’re extremely close, but facing in the wrong direction. Another will play if you’re heading in the right direction. Yet another will play if you’re heading in the wrong direction — and so on.
Presumably (unless Apple assumes we’re really great at remembering different sound cues) these will be accompanied by on-screen instructions.
Meanwhile, the report about the R1 chip claims that it will be based on ultra-wideband technology. Like the iPhone 11’s U1 chip, which allows you to point at another device to AirDrop a file, this will make it more spatially aware. It means that finding an AirTagged device should be incredibly easy.
AirTags have been rumored for some time. However, no release date has been announced. It is quite possible that they get shown off at next week’s WWDC keynote, which takes place Monday.