Apple’s Rumored Tile-Like Bluetooth Tracker May Be Called ‘AirTag’

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.

Hints of the Bluetooth tags have been seen multiple times in prior iOS 13 updates, and iOS 13.2 adds another piece of the puzzle - Apple could call the accessory "AirTags."


The name was spotted in today's iOS 13.2 release by 9to5Mac. A folder in the iOS 13.2 filesystem uses the "AirTag" name. There's also a "BatterySwap" video asset in today's update, which suggests the AirTags will have batteries that can be swapped out.

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.


This article, "Apple's Rumored Tile-Like Bluetooth Tracker May Be Called 'AirTag'" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Exclusive: iOS 13’s Hidden ‘Items’ Tab for ‘Apple Tags’ Revealed

MacRumors has obtained never-before-seen screenshots of a new "Items" tab that Apple is developing for its Find My app in iOS 13. This tab is not available in the public version of the software update released today.

Similar to the existing "People" and "Devices" tabs in the Find My app, the "Items" tab will display a map at the top and a list of items associated with a user's Apple ID account at the bottom. The existing "Me" tab in the Find My app will be relocated to an avatar hovering over the map in all tabs.


The new "Items" tab will be closely integrated with Apple's rumored Tile-like item tracking tags, codenamed "B389" internally. By tapping the "Add" button in the tab, users will be able to track the location of items affixed with so-called Apple Tags directly within the Find My app.

The tab informs users to "tag your everyday items with B389 and never lose them again," making it clear that Apple is working on a Tile competitor. MacRumors shared an image of Apple's tag from an internal build of iOS 13 last month, although it may not reflect the final design of the product.


MacRumors also shared a similar screenshot of the "Items" tab last month, but these screenshots provide a more detailed view.

iPhone users will receive a notification when they are separated from a tagged item, according to strings in the internal build of iOS 13. If necessary, users can then tap a button in the Find My app that will cause Apple's tag to start chiming loudly to help them locate the lost item.

If users are unable to find an item, they can place the attached tag into a "Lost Mode." Then, if another iPhone user comes across the lost item, they will be able to view contact info for the item's owner and contact them by phone or text message. The item's owner will be immediately notified.

"Safe Locations" can be set where a user will not be notified if an item is left in certain locations, and users will also be able to share the location of items with friends and family members, per the internal build of iOS 13.

Last month, MacRumors reported that augmented reality will likely play a role in Apple's item tracking functionality.

Like the Pixie Tracker, the Find My app will likely incorporate features from Apple's ARKit framework. The internal build of iOS 13 includes an asset for a 3D red balloon that could help a user pinpoint a lost item after scanning a room with their iPhone. There's also an image of a 2D orange balloon.


"Walk around several feet and move your iPhone up and down until a balloon comes into view," reads a string in internal iOS 13 code.

The internal build of iOS 13 containing these leaked images and screenshots is from early June, so we cannot guarantee that the "Items" tab or all of the details presented above will be exactly as described. We also cannot guarantee that Apple will ever release the tags, but it has certainly been working on them.

Apple did not announce its Tile competitor at its September event earlier this month, but it could unveil the tags at a potential October event or beyond.


This article, "Exclusive: iOS 13's Hidden 'Items' Tab for 'Apple Tags' Revealed" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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iPhone 11 Models Feature ‘U1’ Ultra Wideband Chip Amid Rumors of Apple Item-Tracking Tags

iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max models are equipped with a "U1" ultra wideband chip for "spatial awareness," according to tech specs on Apple's website, which should result in more accurate indoor positioning and pave the way for the future launch of Apple's rumored Tile-like item tracking tags.


Apple explains:
The new Apple‑designed U1 chip uses Ultra Wideband technology for spatial awareness — allowing iPhone 11 Pro to precisely locate other U1‑equipped Apple devices. It's like adding another sense to iPhone, and it's going to lead to amazing new capabilities.

With U1 and iOS 13, you can point your iPhone toward someone else's, and AirDrop will prioritize that device so you can share files faster. And that's just the beginning.
Apple's tags will also feature ultra wideband tech, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The distance between two UWB 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.


While the Apple Tags were not announced at Apple's event today, no reliable sources ever provided a timeframe for their release. There is plenty of evidence of the tags in internal iOS 13 code, but perhaps Apple is waiting until iOS 13.1 is released on September 30 or for a potential October event to unveil them.

MacRumors shared several exclusive details about the Apple Tags last month.

Related Roundup: iPhone 11

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Kuo: ‘Apple Tags’ to Feature Ultra-Wideband Technology, Likely Far More Precise Than Tile’s Trackers

Last week, MacRumors revealed new details about Apple's upcoming Tile competitor, with internal iOS 13 code suggesting that Apple plans to release small, circular "tags" that can be attached to electronic devices, backpacks, keys, and other personal belongings to keep track of their locations.

Apple Tags concept by MacRumors

Now, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has thrown his weight behind this rumor. In a Chinese-language research note with TF International Securities today, Kuo said he expects Apple's tags to feature ultra-wideband or "UWB" technology. As he has said previously, Kuo also expects all three 2019 iPhones to support UWB.

Ultra-wideband is a short-range, low-power radio technology that is able to provide more precise indoor positioning than Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi, suggesting that Apple's tags will be more accurate at pinpointing the location of lost items than Tile's current item trackers, which rely on Bluetooth LE.

The distance between two UWB devices — such as an upcoming iPhone and Apple Tag — can be measured precisely by calculating the time that it takes for a radio wave to pass between the two devices, according to Electronic Design, which notes that UWB is up to 100× more accurate than Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi:
In practice, UWB signals are able to effectively measure distance between two devicesNo with 5- to 10-cm accuracy, compared to roughly 5-m accuracy for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. When implemented in a system of fixed beacons tracking tag locations, the locations can be calculated to within 10-cm accuracy.
It is unclear if Apple's tags will rely solely on UWB, which would seemingly limit their compatibility to 2019 and newer iPhones, or if they will also incorporate Bluetooth LE for use with older devices.

Last week, MacRumors revealed that Apple's tags will be closely integrated with the new "Find My" app in iOS 13, which merged the Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps into one package. Specifically, Apple has been working on an "Items" tab in the app for tracking the location of Apple-tagged items.


iPhone users will receive a notification when they are separated from a tagged item, according to an internal version of the "Find My" app obtained by MacRumors. If necessary, users can then tap a button in the app that will cause Apple's tag to chime to help them locate the lost item.

"Safe Locations" can be set where the user will not be notified if this item is left in those locations, and users will also be able to share the location of items with friends and family members, based on internal iOS 13 code.

If users are unable to find an item, they can place the attached tag into a "Lost Mode." Then, if another iPhone user comes across the lost item, the owner will be instantly notified. The stranger will also be presented with the owner's contact information, possibly via push notification or in the Find My app.

Like the Pixie Tracker, the Find My app will likely incorporate functionality from Apple's ARKit platform. An internal build of iOS 13 includes an asset for a 3D red balloon that could help a user pinpoint a lost item after scanning a room with their iPhone. There's also an image of a 2D orange balloon.


"Walk around several feet and move your iPhone up and down until a balloon comes into view," a string in the internal Find My app bundle reads.

Apple is hosting an event at Steve Jobs Theater next Tuesday, where it is widely expected to unveil new iPhone and Apple Watch models. It certainly seems like development of Apple's tags has reached an advanced stage, but it is unclear if the product will be introduced at the keynote or later.


This article, "Kuo: 'Apple Tags' to Feature Ultra-Wideband Technology, Likely Far More Precise Than Tile's Trackers" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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