AirTags Referenced in New Apple Support Video

Apple has accidentally referenced its widely rumored AirTags item tracking tags in a video that it uploaded to its Apple Support channel on YouTube today. The video was first spotted by the blog Appleosophy and has quickly been removed.

AirTags were mentioned in Settings > Apple ID > Find My > Find My iPhone under Enable Offline Finding, with fine print that reads "offline finding enables this device and AirTags to be found when not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular."


AirTags will compete with Tile, helping users keep track of their personal belongings, such as their keys, wallets, and backpacks.

MacRumors uncovered evidence of AirTags within iOS 13 code last year. The tags will be closely integrated with the new Find My app, which will be getting an "Items" tab. Users will receive a notification when they are separated from a tagged item, and if necessary, they can set an AirTag to start making sounds to help locate the lost item.

MacRumors shared exclusive screenshots of the under-development "Items" tab with AirTags (codenamed "B389") integration in the Find My app last year:


In January, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said AirTags were slated to launch in the first half of 2020 with Ultra Wideband support, but this timeframe could have changed since then.
Tag: AirTags

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Tile Claims Apple’s Anticompetitive Behavior Has ‘Gotten Worse, Not Better’

Apple's anticompetitive behaviors have gotten worse over the course of the last few months rather than better, Tile claimed in a congressional panel today, reports Reuters.


Executives from Tile, PopSockets, Sonos, and Basecamp in January testified in front of a congressional hearing in an ongoing antitrust inquiry launched by the U.S. government against tech companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google.

Tile at the time complained about Location Services changes implemented in iOS 13 that encouraged customers not to use always-on location tracking by requiring them to set a toggle in "deep, hard-to-find smartphone settings."

To resolve the dispute, Apple said that it was working on an option that would allow third-party developers to enable "Always Allow" tracking features right when an app is installed, but Tile today said that it is not satisfied with Apple's actions since the original congressional meeting.

"Despite Apple's multiple promises to reinstate 'Always Allow' background permissions option for third party apps' geolocation services, Apple has not yet done so," Tile said. Always-on location access is crucial for the Tile app's ability to locate nearby Tile hardware.

Tile also said that it appears Apple is working on a hardware product that will be added to the Find My app, referencing AirTags rumors. There is evidence that Apple is developing small, Bluetooth-enabled tracking tags that will be able to be attached to wallets, keys, and other items to allow them to be located in the ‌Find My‌ app.

AirTags will directly compete with Tile's Bluetooth tracking tags, which serve a similar function, but will have an edge because they'll be integrated right into the ‌Find My‌ app used by every iPhone, iPad, and Mac owner.

Apple opted not to comment on what Tile had to say, but pointed Reuters to its previous statement made in January.
Apple builds its hardware, software, and system level apps to protect user privacy and provide the best products and ecosystem in the world. Apple has not built a business model around knowing a customer's location or the location of their device.

When setting up a new device users can choose to turn on Location Services to help find a lost or misplaced device with ‌‌Find My‌‌ ‌‌iPhone‌‌, an app that users have come to rely on since 2010. Customers have control over their location data, including the location of their device. If a user doesn't want to enable these features, there's a clear, easy to understand setting where they can choose exactly which location services they want enabled or disabled.

In regard to third-party apps, we created the App Store with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for developers. We continually work with developers and take their feedback on how to help protect user privacy while also providing the tools developers need to make the best app experiences.

We're currently working with developers interested in enabling the "Always Allow" functionality to enable that feature at the time of setup in a future software update.
Apple, along with other tech companies, continues to be under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, and attorneys general from dozens of states.
Tags: Tile, AirTags

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Apple’s Rumored Tile Competitor ‘AirTag’ May Have Removable Coin-Shaped Battery Like the Tile Pro

MacRumors has learned that "AirTag" is likely the marketing name of Apple's rumored Tile-like item tracking tags, which will help users keep track of their personal belongings, such as their keys, wallets, and backpacks. This name was initially uncovered in iOS 13.2 code, but it was unclear if it was a placeholder until now.

We've also learned that the tags will likely feature a removable CR2032 coin cell battery like the Tile Pro. Based on a prototype of the tag, removing and replacing the battery will require unscrewing the back cover and performing a counter-clockwise twisting motion. The new battery must be inserted with the plus sign facing up.


CR2032 batteries are not intended to be recharged and need to be replaced over time — for example, the Tile Pro's battery lasts around one year. Users will be required to pull a tab on the AirTag to activate the battery, and then bring the tag near a device like an iPhone or iPad to initiate the pairing process.

The above information is based on a prototype of the AirTag, so the final plans could vary. Last month, for example, it was rumored that the tags will feature magnetic charging similar to the Apple Watch, but that would require a rechargeable battery.

MacRumors uncovered evidence of AirTags within iOS 13 code last year. The tags will be closely integrated with the new Find My app, which will be getting an "Items" tab. Users will receive a notification when they are separated from a tagged item, and if necessary, they can set an AirTag to start making sounds to help locate the lost item.

A few months ago, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple plans to launch the tags within the first half of 2020, although it is unclear if the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak will change that timeframe. Kuo expects the tags to support Ultra Wideband like iPhone 11 models, likely allowing users to find tagged items with greater accuracy than Bluetooth LE or Wi-Fi.
Tag: AirTags

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AirTags Said to Be ‘Completely Waterproof’ and Use Magnetic Charging Like Apple Watch

In a report touching on several topics today, Japanese site Mac Otakara claims that Apple's Tile-like "AirTags" item trackers will be "completely waterproof" and use similar magnetic wireless charging to that seen on the Apple Watch.

AirTag image found in iOS 13 build

Evidence of ‌AirTags‌ has been found in builds of ‌iOS 13‌ since last summer, and it appears the small item trackers will show up in the Find My app and enable users to locate misplaced items. With ultra wideband support found in the iPhone 11 lineup and augmented reality, it looks like ‌AirTags‌ could offer high precision and direct the user straight to an item, even pinpointing it within a room.

We're not sure when to expect ‌AirTags‌ to launch, but it looks like it may not be imminent yet, as noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said just last week that production isn't expected to ramp up until the second or third quarter, and today's report from Mac Otakara claims an announcement in the fall of this year, which would likely be alongside new iPhones in September.


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Kuo: Supply Chain to Ramp Up for Apple’s Ultra Wideband Tags in Second to Third Quarter of 2020

Shanghai-based manufacturing company Universal Scientific Industrial will begin supplying the system-in-package for Apple's upcoming Ultra Wideband item tracking tags in the second to third quarter of 2020, with shipments to reach tens of millions of units by the end of the year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

In a research note with TF International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said Universal Scientific Industrial will be the primary supplier of the system-in-package for the tags, fulfilling around 60 percent of orders. Similar to the one inside AirPods, the system-in-package would be a densely packed circuit board, and it would likely include the Apple-designed U1 chip for Ultra Wideband support.

Apple's tag image asset in iOS 13 code

Last month, Kuo said the Ultra Wideband tag would be one of Apple's major new hardware products in the first half of 2020, but he has yet to provide a more specific release date for the accessory.

Multiple reports this week have indicated that a new lower-cost iPhone model and refreshed iPad Pro models with 3D sensing could debut as early as next month, possibly at an as-yet unannounced Apple event on Tuesday, March 31. It is certainly possible that the Ultra Wideband tags could also be unveiled at the March event, if one transpires, but the second to third quarter timeframe for system-in-package shipments leaves room for an announcement at WWDC 2020 in June as well.

It is worth noting that Apple has introduced many of its first-generation hardware products several months in advance of their release, including the original iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod, so whether the Ultra Wideband tags are announced in March or June, they might not ship until later in the year.


MacRumors uncovered evidence of Apple working on Tile-like item trackers in iOS 13 code last year, including an unreleased "Items" tab in the Find My app and a potential "AirTag" name for the small, circular tags.

Users would receive a notification when they are separated from a tagged item and, if necessary, they would be able to tap a button in the Find My app that would result in Apple's tag chiming. It would also be possible to disable notifications for "safe locations" such as a home or workplace.

Apple's internal "Items" tab in the Find My app for its Ultra Wideband tags

Apple's tags will likely incorporate augmented reality. Last year, for example, MacRumors discovered that a 3D red balloon could help a user pinpoint a lost item after scanning a room with their iPhone. In his research note today, Kuo echoes that the Ultra Wideband tags will benefit augmented reality applications.

iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models are also equipped with an Apple-designed U1 chip with Ultra Wideband, which Apple's website says will lead to "amazing new capabilities," and AirTags will likely be one of them.


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Android Smartphones Expected to Follow iPhone With Ultra Wideband Technology Starting Later This Year

Following in the footsteps of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, the first Android smartphones with Ultra Wideband technology will be released starting later in 2020, according to Barclays analysts.

In a research note obtained by MacRumors, the analysts said Android smartphones will be equipped with an all-in-one Ultra Wideband, NFC, and Secure Element chip introduced by Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors last year. It is unclear which Android smartphones will adopt Ultra Wideband first, but Samsung did join a consortium with NXP last year to help develop the technology.

iPhone 11 lineup features Ultra Wideband technology

In a press release last year, NXP said Ultra Wideband will give mobile devices several new and interesting capabilities, such as being able to unlock a car's doors when the device comes in close proximity of the vehicle, potentially foreshadowing a feature that could come to the iPhone down the road.

"With the SR100T, mobile devices will be able to communicate with connected doors, points of entry, and cars to open them once approaching," said NXP in a press release. "Lights, audio speakers, and any other connected device with UWB sensing capability will be able to follow users from one room to another, and smart connected technology will intuitively be embedded in people's lives."

iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max models are equipped with an Apple-designed U1 chip with Ultra Wideband, allowing the devices to understand their precise location relative to other nearby U1‑equipped Apple devices. On iOS 13, for example, there is a directional AirDrop feature where you can point an iPhone 11 at another iPhone to instantly share files with them.

On its iPhone 11 Pro page, Apple teases that the directional AirDrop feature is "just the beginning" of what is possible with Ultra Wideband, adding that "amazing new capabilities" are coming later.

Last year, MacRumors uncovered evidence of Apple working on Tile-like item trackers in iOS 13 code. The so-called AirTags will also support Ultra Wideband, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, suggesting that iPhone 11 models will be able to locate the tags with precise accuracy in both indoor and outdoor areas.

MacRumors exclusive: Find My app with hidden "Items" tab for AirTags

The distance between two Ultra Wideband devices can be measured precisely by calculating the time that it takes for a radio wave to pass between the two devices, with much more accuracy than Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi.

It is unclear when Apple plans to announce its item tracking tags, or if development of the product has been abandoned.

In any case, it appears that Ultra Wideband really is just getting started.

Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro

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Apple Did Buy Rights to ‘AirTag’ Trademark, Source Confirms

Apple has bought the "AirTag" trademark for its rumored item tracking device from a Russian group of companies that specializes in RFID technology, according to a Russian media outlet.


RBC reports that a group called ISBC, which describes itself as "The leading smart card and RFID tag manufacturer in Russia," recently sold Apple the "AirTag" trademark as part of an agreement that would see the group develop its products under a single brand, according to a source familiar with the details of the transaction.

In a statement posted on the ISBC website today, the group confirmed that it had completed a transaction to transfer the rights to the "AirTag" trademark, but said that details about buyer would not be disclosed under the terms of confidentiality.
ISBC® group of companies have decided to bet on enhancing development of its own products under a single namesake trademark ISBC®. This rebranding decision is very much conditioned by international deal on assignment of the trademark AIRTAG®.

[...]

Transfer of RFID keyfobs from AIRTAG® brand to our flagship one - ISBC® - evidences our confidence in future of the product and solutions related. Confidentiality agreed does not allow us to disclose the deal in detail. But we may express our confidence the the future of AIRTAG® trademark we have envisaged and registered internationally will be bright, the whole world will learn and love the new product so named.
On Monday, the public release of iOS 13.2 revealed information suggesting Apple may be planning to call its rumored Tile-like item tracking accessory "AirTags."

Looking into the status of trademark activity surrounding the term, MacRumors came across some curious recent developments that could be signs of Apple acquiring the trademark rights, although a smoking gun concretely linking Apple to the activity was unavailable at the time.

Apple is rumored to be working on Tile-like Bluetooth trackers that can be used to keep track of items that are often lost, such as keys, wallets, and more.


Multiple rumors have confirmed Apple's work on ‌‌AirTags‌‌, which are expected, based on leaked assets, to be little round circles that can be attached to your items to make them locatable through the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices.

‌‌AirTags‌‌ will connect to iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more via Bluetooth, and will leverage the ultra-wideband U1 chip in the newest iPhones for more precise indoor tracking that's unmatched by competitors.

As we found earlier this year, there will also be an augmented reality component that will let you use your device's camera to pinpoint exactly where a lost item might be. Longer-range tracking will also be available, and ‌‌AirTags‌‌ will likely take advantage of the offline crowd-sourced tracking feature that was added in ‌iOS 13‌.

There is no word on when ‌‌AirTags‌‌ will be released, but given that Apple has been adding new details to each beta, there's a possibility that the accessories are coming this year, perhaps even quite soon.

(Thanks, Sergey!)

Tag: AirTags

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Updated Screenshots Show AirTags Setup Process and New Find My Layout

Apple is rumored to be working on a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device called AirTags, which we've been seeing signs of in various versions of iOS for the last couple of months.

We have additional ‌AirTags‌ screenshots to share today, sent in by a MacRumors reader. The updated images are similar to images that we found in an early version of iOS 13 back in September, but with some updates that are more in line with the current look of the Find My app.


Both screenshots depict an updated ‌Find My‌ app with a bar at the bottom for "People," "Devices," "Items," and "Me." The earlier screenshots that we saw didn't have the "Me" option in the bottom bar, suggesting Apple was still in the process of refining the look of the app.

The placeholder suitcase emoji that was used in the original screenshot has also now been updated with a backpack emoji.


The screenshots are otherwise the same, referring to the ‌AirTags‌ by their codename, "B389." The ‌AirTags‌ setup process, as we discovered earlier this week in a separate screenshot, will consist of pulling the tab on the AirTag and then bringing it close to the iPhone to begin the setup process.


From there, the ‌AirTags‌ will presumably connect to the iPhone and that's when users will see the "Add" option with Apple's wording: "Tag your everyday items with [‌AirTags‌] and never lose them again."

The ‌AirTags‌ name was first unveiled earlier this week in assets found in the iOS 13.2 update. We've also previously seen placeholder images that suggest the ‌AirTags‌ could perhaps be small, circular white tags that can be attached to items to make them locatable through the ‌Find My‌ app.


‌‌AirTags‌‌ will connect to iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more via Bluetooth, and will leverage the ultra-wideband U1 chip in the newest iPhones for more precise indoor tracking that's unmatched by competitors like Tile.

We're also expecting an augmented reality component that will take advantage of a device's camera to pinpoint exactly where an item might be. Longer-range tracking will also be available, and ‌‌AirTags‌‌ will likely take advantage of the offline crowd-sourced tracking feature that was added in ‌iOS 13‌.

We don't yet know when ‌AirTags‌ might be released, but Apple has been adding new ‌AirTags‌ info to each beta, so there's a possibility that we could potentially see ‌AirTags‌ launch before the end of the year.

For more on what to expect from the ‌AirTags‌, make sure to check out our AirTags guide.

Tag: AirTags

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AirTags: Everything We Know So Far

Apple is working on a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app.

Based on assets found in iOS 13.2 and trademarking details dug up by MacRumors, Apple seems to be planning to call its tracking accessory the "AirTag."

A mockup of what AirTags could look like

AirTags are still in the works and there's no prospective release date yet, but signs of them have been found in iOS 13 betas so we do know a bit about what we can expect when they're available. This guide goes over everything that we know about AirTags at the current time.

What are AirTags?


AirTags are small tracking tiles with Bluetooth connectivity that can be used to find lost items. There are several similar products on the market, such as Tile and Adero, but Apple's version will be more deeply integrated with Apple devices.

How will AirTags work?


AirTags will have built-in chips that will allow them to connect to an iPhone, relaying the position of devices that they're attached to. You will be able to use your iPhone, iPad, and Mac to track the location of AirTags much like you do to find missing Apple devices.

What will AirTags look like?


Based on images found within an internal build of ‌iOS 13‌, AirTags are small, circular white tags with an Apple logo on the front. Presumably, these will attach to items via adhesive or an attachment point like a ring, and there may be multiple ways to use them with different items.


AirTags might not look quite like this because it could be a placeholder image, but this is the only information that we have at this time.

How will tracking items with AirTags work?


AirTags will show up in a new "Items" tab that will be available in the ‌Find My‌ app right alongside your Apple devices and your friends and family. With AirTags, the ‌Find My‌ app will be a one stop shop for anything that you want to find.


AirTags, like a lost iPhone or ‌iPad‌, will show up on a map and will have an address listed where they can be tracked to.

What will happen if I lose an item that has an AirTag?


Based on code found in ‌iOS 13‌, if you lose an item that has an AirTag on it, you'll get a notification on your iPhone. You'll then be able to tap a button in the ‌Find My‌ app that will cause the AirTag to chime loudly so you can locate something that's lost nearby.

It also appears that augmented reality will play a role in tracking down lost items. The ‌Find My‌ app may include an ARKit feature that lets you use augmented reality to track down an item that's nearby, with Apple using balloon assets to let you know visually where an item might be.


There's a string of code in ‌iOS 13‌ that reads "Walk around several feet and move your iPhone up and down until a balloon comes into view."

Will AirTags still work if my item is far away?


Yes. If an item is not nearby and can't be located, you can put it into Lost Mode. In this mode, if another iPhone user comes across the list item, they'll be able to see your contact information so they can send you a text or give you a phone call to let you know the item has been found.

You'll also receive a notification as soon as an iPhone comes across your lost item. This feature that lets any iPhone detect a lost item is part of ‌iOS 13‌, and it leverages Bluetooth to locate lost Apple devices and when released, AirTags.

Will I be able to set boundaries for AirTags?


Yes. In the ‌Find My‌ app, you can create Safe Locations. If an item with an Apple Tag is in a safe location (such as your home), you're not going to receive a notification when it's left behind.

If it leaves the safe location, you'll get a notification. You can also share the location of items with friends and family.

How accurate are AirTags?


AirTags are rumored to be more accurate than your average Bluetooth item tracker like Tile because they're said to take advantage of ultra-wideband technology, which basically offers more accurate indoor positioning.

Apple's newest iPhones have a U1 ultra-wideband chip so they're going to be able to track ultra-wideband equipped AirTags more precisely than is possible with Bluetooth alone.

What will AirTags cost?


There's no word on what Apple's AirTags will cost at this point in time, but similar products from companies like Tile are priced in the range of $25 to $35 for a single Bluetooth tracker.

Tile Bluetooth tracking tags

Apple's AirTags could be priced similarly.

When will AirTags be released?


There were signs of AirTags in an Apple internal build of ‌iOS 13‌ and later versions of ‌iOS 13‌, but we haven't heard any rumors pointing towards a specific release date for AirTags.

For that reason, it's not entirely clear when the AirTags will be released. They could potentially come before the end of the year, but Apple may also be waiting until 2020.

AirTags Rumor List

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Did Apple Just Acquire Trademark Rights to the ‘AirTag’ Name?

Earlier today, the public release of iOS 13.2 revealed information suggesting Apple may be planning to call its rumored Tile-like item tracking accessory "AirTags."


Looking into the status of any trademark activity surrounding the term, we've come across some curious recent developments that could be signs of Apple acquiring the trademark rights, although we've yet to find a smoking gun concretely linking Apple to the activity.

Citing an international application made in June 2016, a Russian entity known as "Intelligent Systems of Business Control" Ltd in October 2018 filed a trademark application on the AirTag name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The description of the goods and services to be covered by the trademark bear a remarkable similarity to Apple's rumored AirTags:
Systems of radio frequency identification comprised of RFID tags, RFID tag readers, and downloadable software for operating RFID readers; radio frequency identification (RFID) labels; RFID tags in form of cards, tags or key rings; RFID markers in the form of RFID signal receivers; RFID tag bracelets; RFID tag disks; RFID tag stickers; RFID tag stamps; RFID printed circuits; RFID tag boles; RFID ear tags; RFID tags in plastic or glass flasks; RFID tags in the form of keys; flexible cases especially adapted for RFID tags with a graphic image; RFID readers; blank smart cards with integrated circuit cards; computer software, recorded, for maintaining a record of issuance and control of RFID tags; all of the above designed to allow users to automatically identify them to obtain keyless access control for interlocking doors, access to various services, such as public transportation, banking, social events and various loyalty programs and not designed to work with data loggers
After an initial denial and some back-and-forth between the applicant's attorney and trademark examiners, the application was approved in August 2019 to be published for opposition, which gives third parties 30 days to object to the proposed trademark.

On August 28, the same day the USPTO officially served notice that the trademark application would be published for opposition on September 17, the attorney on the application was changed to the Moscow office of Baker & McKenzie, a major law firm that Apple has worked with on a number of occasions in several countries.


A month later, on October 1, ownership of the trademark application was officially transferred to GPS Avion LLC, a company that was only just created in July 2019 and appears to have no public presence. GPS Avion was created in Delaware through the Corporation Trust Company, which is a process Apple has used quite a few times to create shell companies in order to hide its identity when dealing with intellectual property issues.


So while there's no evidence directly linking Apple to this AirTag trademark application, the timing of the ownership change and the acquisition by a company seeking to remain anonymous certainly raise suspicions. The use of Baker & McKenzie as the new attorney is also consistent with Apple's past behavior, and at a minimum hints that a major player is behind the acquisition given the firm's prominence.

While we've seen increasing signs of Apple's work on AirTags in recent months, we still don't know when they will debut. An October event would have been a good opportunity to introduce, perhaps as an iOS 13.2 feature, but with that software having been released today and Apple apparently not planning a media event until early next year, it doesn't necessarily look like an AirTags launch is imminent.

Tag: AirTags

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