Apple has unveiled the biggest competitor to Tile yet: AirTags. After years of leaks and rumors, AirTags are officially a thing, and they’ll go on sale Friday, April 30th.
The new AirTags do what you think they do. You keep them with items you don’t want to lose so you can track their location using Apple’s Find My app. The trackers offer a round design with a stainless steel back, IP67 water and dust resistance, and a speaker for playing a sound to help locate an AirTag. You can remove a door on each tag to replace the battery which, according to Apple, lasts a year.
AirTags utilize Apple’s U1 chip for Precise Tracking, a feature that allows iPhone 11 and 12 users to get a clearer picture of exactly where their stuff is. Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) powers the rest of the experience along with Wi-Fi so other users can help locate AirTags.
That’s another thing. Much like Tile or Samsung’s Galaxy SmartTags, AirTags will be discoverable by other users of Find My, so long as you enable Lost mode. If someone spots your AirTag, they’ll be able to tap it with their iPhone or NFC-enabled smartphone and be taken to a website with your contact information so you can retrieve it. Obviously, you don’t have to provide your contact info, but it might be nice in case of an emergency.
Apple says setting up AirTags takes very little time – all you do is hold them close to your iPhone and you’ll be prompted to set them up, just like AirPods. Security is also a high priority for the company, with no information shared or stored on the AirTags themselves or through the networks that detect them. The company also notes how it can’t access any information on your AirTags thanks to their end-to-end encryption.
Luckily, it looks like AirTags will be relatively affordable. One will set you back $29, while a pack of four will be $99. Of course, the accessory market will go berserk with discount cases and latches since Apple’s own accessories start out at $29.