In its online Spring Loaded event hosted on the 20th of April, Apple announced the AirTag, alongwith a bunch of other exciting products, including a new iMac.
The AirTag is a $29 tracking tag that leverages the Find My ecosystem, which provides a private and secure way to locate just about any item easily. It’s also available in a pack of four for $99.
When attached to a backpack, keys or just about any item, AirTag can tap into Apple’s global Find My network to help locate these items if you end up losing them. All this happens while your data is kept private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption.
“We’re excited to bring this incredible new capability to iPhone users with the introduction of AirTag,” said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s VP of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing.
The AirTag is an elegantly designed small and lightweight accessory built from precision-etched and polished stainless steel and is IP67 water and dust resistant.
A built-in speaker plays a sound to help users locate the tag and a removable back over to make it easier to replace the battery. Apple claims up to one year of battery life with everyday use. The tag takes CR2032 batteries, which are widely available across the globe.
Users can even customise their tags with free engraving, which includes custom text and a selection of 31 emojis, provided the tag is purchased from Apple’s site or the Apple Store app.
To place the tag on an item, users can either slip the tag in a pocket or pick from a range of Apple-designed AirTag enclosure that fits securely around the tag itself, making it convenient to attach to just about anything.
Customers can pick from a Polyurethane Loop, a Leather Loop, or a Leather Key Ring made with specially tanned European leather. And if that’s not enough, you also have the choice to pick up AirTag Hermès. which is an elegant assortment of handcrafted leather accessories from the fashion giant Hermès featuring a Bag Charm, Key Ring, Travel Tag and a Luggage Tag.
All these Hermès accessories will be sold with a custom-engraved AirTag based on the brand’s iconic Clou de Selle signature. The AirTag Hermès Travel Tag will be distributed exclusively through Hermès channels.
The AirTag works pretty much exactly like AirPods. Simply bring the tag close enough to your iPhone and it’ll automatically detect the tag and start tracking. You can pick from a bunch of default names or give the tag a name of its own.
Once the tag is set up, it’ll appear in the New Items tab inside the Find My app. Here you can view the item’s current or last known location on a map. If the tag is within Bluetooth range, users can use the Find My app to play a sound from the tag to help locate it as well.
Even if the Find My network is not available in your country, you can still find the missing tag when it’s nearby thanks to the Find My app.
Each AirTag comes with the Apple-designed U1 chip which utilises Ultra-Wideband technology which in turn enables Precision Finding for iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 users.
Do keep in mind that Precision Finding is not available in countries and regions where Ultra-Wideband technology is restricted.
This advanced technology can help in determining the distance and direction of a lost AirTag more accurately. As you move about, Precision Finding uses multiple inputs from the camera, ARKit, accelerometer and gyroscope to guide you towards your tag using a combination of sounds, haptics and visual feedback.
In case your tag is separated from you and is out of Bluetooth range, the Find My network can still help you track it down. As the network approaches a billion devices, it can detect Bluetooth signals from a lost AirTag and relay the signal back to its owner, all while working in the background.
Users can put their lost tags in the Lost Mode and be notified when the tag is in range or has been located on the Find My network. If you find a lost AIrTag, you can tap it with your iPhone or any NFC-capable device and can be taken to a website that contains the owner’s phone number, if they’ve added one.
Security and Privacy
No location data or history is physically stored inside the AirTag itself. Communication with the Find My network itself is also end-to-end encrypted, meaning only the tag owner has access to its location data.
AirTag is designed to track things and not people, and hence the tag is designed with a set of proactive features that discourage unwanted tacking, an industry first as claimed by Apple.
The Bluetooth signal identifiers from the tag frequently rotate to per cent unwanted location tracking. Other iOS devices can also detect if an AirTag is not with its owner and notify the user if such a tag is on them.
Even more so, even if someone doesn’t have an iOS device, the tag will start emitting a sound to draw attention if separated from its owner for an extended period of time.
The AirTag comes in a pack of one and four, coming in at $29 and $99, respectively and will be available starting Friday, April 30th. The accompanying accessories — Leather Key Ring in Saddle Brown, Red, and Baltic Blue will be available for $35, the Leather Loop in the same colours for $29 and the Polyurethane Loop in White, Deep Navy, Sunflower, and Electric Orange for $29.