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Apple jumps on the Bluetooth tracker bandwagon pioneered by Tile

21 Apr 2021

Hot on the heels of devices such as Tile and Samsung, Apple is dipping its toes into the device tracker market - and as always, the company puts its own spin on the product.

Today Apple announced a device called AirTag, which uses Apple’s ‘Find My’ app to track down whatever the device is attached to.

For example, users can attach an AirTag to a bag, keys, or pretty much anything that can hold the, which has a battery life of up to 12 months thanks to the non-rechargeable CR2032 battery, Apple states.

AirTag is splash-, water-, and dust-resistant with an IP67 rating (maximum depth of 1 metre up to 30 minutes).

Users can set up AirTag and check their Items tab within the Find My app. There, they will see the item’s current or last known location on a map.

If the item is within the range of Bluetooth, users can literally follow the sound to find their item. If it’s not within Bluetooth range, the Find My network can help to track it down. This is done by detecting Bluetooth signals from lost AirTags and sending that information back to the owner - all conducted privately and anonymously, so Apple says.

Lost Mode can notify users when the AirTag comes within range or it is found through the Find My network.

But there’s a catch in the form of what software you must have in order to use the app: users must have an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 14.5 or later, or an iPad running iPadOS 14.5 or later. Users must have an Apple ID and be signed in to their iCloud account. Certain features require Find My to be enabled in iCloud settings.

Apple adds, “iOS devices can also detect an AirTag that isn’t with its owner, and notify the user if an unknown AirTag is seen to be travelling with them from place to place over time. And even if users don’t have an iOS device, an AirTag separated from its owner for an extended period of time will play a sound when moved to draw attention to it.”

Any if anyone happens to find an AirTag, they can use their iPhone or NFC-capable device to access a website that displays the owner’s contact information.

Apple has also embedded its U1 chip within the AirTag, which helps the devices to use data from the accelerometer, ARKit, camera, and gyroscope as part of its Precision Finding feature. There are also accessibility features such as Precision Finding using VoiceOver, which speaks verbal commands to help users find their devices.

The AirTag’s Bluetooth signal identifiers constantly change to prevent unwanted location tracking.

One AirTag will retail for NZ$55, while a pack of four will retail for NZ$189. They are available for preorder from 24 April and will be in stores from 30 April. Personal engraving is free for those who purchase directly from Apple.

Additional accessories include a Leather Key Ring in Saddle Brown, (PRODUCT)RED, and Baltic Blue for NZ$65; the Leather Loop in Saddle Brown and (PRODUCT)RED for NZ$75; and the Polyurethane Loop in White, Deep Navy, Sunflower, and Electric Orange for RRP NZ$55.