There’s been multiple reports pointing to the fact that Apple’s been working on releasing its Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device which will be portable enough to be attached to either keys or wallets with its primary functionality being to track devices which allows the Find My app to work much more efficiently.
The reports about the likelihood of this product debuting this Month has been extensively talked about across different channels on the internet thanks to various version of the iOS and trademarking details that were researched by MacRumors all pointing to this.
Based on assets found in various versions of iOS and trademarking details dug up by MacRumors, Apple seems to be planning to call its tracking accessory the “AirTag.”
There is even a 3D mock-up of what the AirTags might look like according to reports and with multiple signs of the technology found on iOS 13 and the current iOS 14 points to the fact that this might just be a matter of time before we finally start seeing it.
So on this long-form FAQ of the AirTags, we’ll explore some of the possibilities about of the AirTags based on reports and findings.
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.
The device comes with some built-in chips that is able to allow them to connect to an iPhone which then relay the position of the devices that they’re attached to.
With that, you’ll be able to use your other Apple devices such as the iPad or Mac or iPhone to track the location of AirTags just like when you’re finding missing Apple devices.
The circulated 3D mock up of the device is based on the internal build of the iOS 13 AirTags which is small and circular with the Apple logo on it right at the center.
However, the way AirTags will attach to devices is yet unknown but there are suggestions that showed that the attachment could be based on Adhesives or via an attachment point like a ring or maybe all of the above.
Jon Prosser on the other hand shared a number of renders which he claimed to be based on the actual designs of the AirPods.
The render showed a flat white disc that has no logo on the front but a silver Apple logo at the back. Then he further shared a 3D animation video which could appear when pairing the AirTags with an Apple device.
Prosser says that the AirTags are a “tad larger than a bottle cap” and that AirTags will come with a keychain that has a “little leather pouch on it” to accommodate the AirTags.
Leaker L0vetodream has suggested that AirTags are going to be available in two sizes, large and small, though it’s unclear why two sizes would be required.
Within the Find My app, there is expected to be a new “Items” which will then be a one-stop-shop for anything that is to be found.]
The new “Items” tab was added in the iOS 14.5 and can be used to track third-party Bluetooth accessories which have the Find My integration.
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 if you lose the AirTags?
You might be wondering what will happen if you lose the AirTags but there are codes found in the iOS that showed that you’ll get notified on your iPhone if you lose the AirTag and then you’ll be able to tap a button in the Find My app which will cause a loud chime on the AirTag which will allow you to locate the lost device.
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.”
It’s possible to still make use of the AirTags even if your devices are farther away by putting it into the Lost Mode. With this, another iPhone user can come across the list item and they’ll be able to see your contact info and they can send a text or give a phone call to let you know that they found your device.
Also you’ll get a notification just as soon as an iPhone come across the lost item which will let any other iPhone user detect your lost item and it uses Bluetooth to locate lost Apple devices. This feature had been available since iOS 13.
This is possible via the Find My app where you can create Safe Locations so if an item with an Apple Tag is in a safe location like home, you will not be getting a notification just in case the device was left at home.
If it leaves the safe location, you’ll get a notification. You can also share the location of items with friends and family.
Will there be sounds?
The Find My app will provide sounds when you face the right direction when locating an AirTag, letting you know when a lost device is ahead of you, when you’re nearby, or when it’s in arms reach, with discouraging tones letting you know if you’re off course.
There have been rumors that the device are much more accurate than an average Bluetooth item tracker such as Tile due to the fact that they utilize the ultra-wideband technology which allow for a much 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.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the use of an ultra-wideband chip in AirTags will “enhance the user experience of iOS’s ‘find’ and augment reality (AR) applications by offering measurement functions in the short distance.”
Will there be a replaceable battery?
Apple’s AirTags could feature a removable and replaceable CR2032 coin battery, similar to the Tile Pro. A description of the tag found in iOS 14 code suggests the battery can be swapped out by unscrewing the back cover of the AirTag and then performing a counter-clockwise twisting motion.
A CR2032 battery would not be rechargeable and would require the battery to be replaced each year on average. The existence of the removable battery conflicts with other rumors that have suggested the AirTags would feature a rechargeable battery that charges with an Apple Watch-style charging puck, so Apple could be testing multiple prototypes.
There are still a lot of details that aren’t known about the AirTags, so we may need to wait for launch to learn more about them.
Japanese site Mac Otakara says, though, that Apple’s AirTags will be “completely waterproof.”
There is also a new rumor stating the device could be used for the Fitness Plus via the WatchOS 8version when it gets a full release.
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.
AirTags aren’t out yet, but that hasn’t stopped accessory makers from creating accessories to go with the upcoming item trackers, with these designs based on rumors.
Accessory makers are not provided with advanced knowledge of the AirTags, but have created mockups of AirTags accessories that they plan to produce.
Spigen brand Cyrill and accessory maker Nomad have both released designs for AirTags holders in the form of keychains.
An Apple patent for a “locatable tag” gives us a look at the accessories that Apple might use with the AirTags, and insight into how AirTags could potentially work. A general disc-like design is shown off in AirTags patents, and the wording suggests that AirTags could be splash proof and able to withstand drops.
Apple also describes a bracelet-like tag that could potentially be worn on the wrist, and there’s also a description of AirTags used on emergency items like fire extinguishers to help people locate these devices quickly in an emergency.
The patent suggests AirTags could be used as beacons to pop up information like maps on iPhones when entering a new location or for augmented reality apps and games.
There may be several AirTags usage modes, such as a lost mode that would allow an AirTag to interface with an iPhone that comes near it, and the patent describes a charging base that’s able to charge the AirTags.
It’s not clear if we’ll actually see these patented features and options come to fruition, but there are some interesting examples of ways that Apple could perhaps be planning to use the AirTags.
Multiple rumors points to the device being released later on this month according to leaks and several media reports and there have been signs of the AirTags being built into the iOS 13 and above.
Ming-Chi Kuo, who often has accurate insight into Apple’s plans, believes Apple plans to release AirTags at some point in 2021. Kuo previously said the AirTags would launch in the first half of 2020, but that did not end up happening. There is no specific launch date rumored for the AirTags as of yet, but they could come early in the year. Leaker Jon Prosser, who has a mixed track record when it comes to rumors, says the AirTags will be released in March.
This post originally appeared on MacRumors.