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

This article, "Apple Did Buy Rights to 'AirTag' Trademark, Source Confirms" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

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

This article, "Updated Screenshots Show AirTags Setup Process and New Find My Layout" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

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

Guide Feedback


Have questions about AirTags or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.


This article, "AirTags: Everything We Know So Far" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

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

This article, "Did Apple Just Acquire Trademark Rights to the 'AirTag' Name?" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums