Apple AirTags release date, price and how it’ll compare to Tile

We have heard rumor after rumor that Apple will likely be launching a Tile-rivalling tracker for a few years now. Whereas we do not know when it is going to be launched, it is a promising accent, leveraging the ability of its iOS community to search out something you hooked up an AirTag to, as they’re being referred to as by leakers.

So what are AirTags? The pitch is that you simply clip one among this stuff to an merchandise you don’t need to lose, and also you’ll then have the ability to observe it from an Apple system. Whereas the rumors we have heard solely say that they will work by means of iPhones, we would be shocked in the event that they did not work with each system in Apple’s ecosystem.  

We nonetheless do not know a lot in regards to the accent, and Apple hasn’t formally acknowledged, and even hinted, that it is coming. All we now have are leaks and rumors sourced from the same old tech breadcrumbs, together with code snippets from iOS 13 and iOS 14, that suggest a new device is coming. 

Sadly, we didn’t hear anything about the Apple AirTags at WWDC 2020, the Apple Watch 6 launch or, again, at the iPhone 12 unveiling… despite multiple leaks in the build up to each confirming they were on the way. And with no mention of the AirTags at Apple’s One More Thing launch event for Macs on November 10, the end of 2020 arrived with no AirTags debut.

Until we find out more, then, here’s what we do know about the Apple AirTags.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Location trackers to help you keep track of personal items
  • When is it out? Possibly April
  • How much will it cost? Unclear at the moment

Having not seen them at Apple’s September event, we expected them to launch in October, alongside the iPhone 12. However, that didn’t happen. But we’ve seen hidden references in iOS 14 that suggest the trackers aren’t too far away from being launched.

Our best guess for when we might see them is at Apple’s spring event, which leaker Jon Prosser has suggested they’ll arrive at. In the same breath he (and others) said the event would take place on March 23, but he’s since revised that to sometime in April.

He’d also previously suggested March 16 would be the date, so we’d take both the timing and AirTags’ presence with a serious helping of salt – though the Apple spring event seems the obvious venue for them to launch at.

As for the Apple AirTags price, one well-known tipster has put it at $39. Given their similarity to Tile, we could compare those prices: the standard Tile Mate costs $25 / £20 / AU$40, although we’d expect the Apple version to cost a bit more, as usual for the brand’s products.  

There are other Tile products of different sizes, so we could see smaller or more sophisticated (and thus pricier) Apple Tags, too. Lastly, Tile has a Premium subscription service that offers enhanced tracking features and yearly battery replacement, which is another thing Apple could imitate.

We’ve also heard that Apple might sell a pouch for AirTags separately – and that this would be required to attach them to things.

Apple still hasn’t said anything official about Apple AirTags, so all we have to go on are rumors. One rumor puts the dimensions of the tags at 32 mm x 32 mm x 6 mm (1.26 inches x 1.26 inches x 0.24 inches).

The vague functionality we’ve heard in these rumors has been so heavily compared to Tile trackers that the AirTags could simply do the same thing: physically clip or secure them to an item, and you’ll be back to track them on your Apple device through an app. 

Of course, since Apple’s devices have Find My functionality to monitor locations of iPhones, Apple Watches, and AirPods, it’s no surprise that code snippets indicated that AirTags will be tracked through that existing service. Walk too far away from an AirTagged item and your device running Find My will start beeping, unless you’re within a designated ‘safe location’ like home or the office.

An example of recent Tile products

An example of recent Tile products (Image credit: Tile)

But you may also be able to track through AR: one rumor suggests you’ll be able to hold your phone up and a balloon icon will hover over the missing device’s location. Assuming it’s in range of your device network, of course.

But what if it’s not? There are hints of a ‘Lost Mode’ which uses other iPhones not in your network to find your AirTagged item. It’s a lot like Tile’s existing community-locating feature, though that only includes other phones with the Tile app. There might be more iPhones in the wild than Tile app users, but it likely varies by region.

According to Jon Prosser (a leaker with a mixed track record) AirTags will also work using ultra-wideband (UWB) – a tech that should allow for extremely precise positioning.

Prosser has also leaked renders showing the supposed design of AirTags. These aren’t official renders, but are apparently based on videos of the real device that he’s seen.

As you’ll be able to see above, they are a white disc with a steel plate on one aspect, and apparently they’re barely bigger than a bottle cap.

Which gadgets will AirTags be appropriate with? One of many earliest rumors cited performance in iOS 13 beta again in June 2019, suggesting that iPhones operating that model of the working system could possibly run it (as much as the iPhone 6S). We don’t know what minimal variations of iPadOS or macOS will likely be required for compatibility.

What we’d prefer to see

Positive, the above options are neat, however till we all know precisely what AirTags are able to, right here’s what we’d prefer to see. 

1. A number of AirTag varieties

Sure, one AirTag is good – however given Tile’s vary of tracker varieties, we’d like to see a number of choices from Apple. Tile’s normal Mate has a claimed vary of 150 ft, whereas the Professional extends out to 300 ft. The Tile Slim is barely thicker than a bank card, whereas the Sticker is sufficiently small to stay on remotes. 

We’d love some selection from Apple’s choices, particularly in the event that they introduce a radically completely different tracker format. Maybe a thinner, smaller format to suit on iPhones and Apple Watches?

2. Monitoring by means of all Apple gadgets

We’re fairly positive that is going to be the case anyway, however we’d love if each main system in Apple’s ecosystem may use Discover My to trace the AirTags. We’ve already heard about iPhone, iPad, and macOS compatibility, however what about Apple Watch? Given the compass within the Apple Watch 5, together with its different sensors, we’d like full-spectrum monitoring functionality. 

three. Software program insights

Okay, this one’s a bit extra summary, however we’re curious if Apple’s emphasis on well being could be put to attention-grabbing use with AirTags. Are you able to label sure AirTagged objects as high-priority objects that at all times should be in attain – like inhalers, insulin package luggage, Life Alerts, or drugs bottles? Can they be linked as much as Siri, who cannot solely remind you to seize sure issues earlier than you allow however inform you the place they’re?

four. Package deal offers

We’re at all times suckers for good offers, and we’d love if the AirTags got here in sufficient packs for us to select up a half-dozen and place them on our necessary issues. Particularly if we now have sensible houses, the place the whole lot may be linked up however scattered about the home.