After months of rumors and speculation, it looks like Apple will produce tens of millions of its ultra-wideband trackers (tentatively called AirTags or Apple Tags) by the end of the year, possibly by the third quarter, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts (via 9to5Mac).
The existence of Apple Tags / AirTags was leaked by numerous outlets last year. Images showed a Bluetooth tracker similar to Tile devices that would use the same ultra-wideband radios as Apple’s newest iPhone 11 phones and could be paired to a user’s iCloud account. The tags would make it easier to track lost items, like keys, via the Find My app, and would use the Offline Finding capabilities introduced in iOS 13, according to 9to5Mac. A quick roundup of some previous Apple Tags rumors:
- The Tags will be circular discs, according to both 9to5Mac and MacRumors
- The Tags will likely be fitted with Apple’s new U1 locator chip that’s already in the iPhone 11
- 3D balloons will provide the visual cues to pinpoint the location of lost items, likely via an AR interface. “Walk around several feet and move your iPhone up and down until a balloon comes into view,” according to a string of code in the internal iOS 13 build.
When the tags would be made available to the public remains unclear, but it’s possible that they could be released during the September iPhone event. As 9to5Mac points out, AirTags are a totally new product category, and Apple might choose to unveil them earlier — possibly at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which is expected to take place sometime in June.