Chipolo, the maker of some of the best item trackers on the market, says that competition from Apple's AirTag is a good thing — because it means it can use the Find My network to make its products better.
When Apple announced the AirTag, it was immediately accused of anticompetitive behavior by Tile, another item tracker maker. But Chipolo sees things differently, and instead of butting heads with Apple, it decided to work with it.
All tracked out
In an interview with TechCrunch, Chipolo co-founder Domen Barovic said that his company believes that by using the Apple Find My network alongside AirTags, its item trackers are better than ever.
"It just comes down to do you want the customer to be happier with the bigger network? … We decided this is better," he said before adding that using the Find My network is better than trying to build out its own.
Chipolo has around a million active users right now, which only allows its trackers to work whenever another passes by. But by using the Find My network, the numbers change dramatically. There are plenty of AirTags worldwide and iPhones — and they all create a network that companies like Chipolo could only dream of.
More devices make it easier for Chipolo's customers to locate lost items.
As for competing with Apple, Chipolo chooses to make trackers that Apple doesn't — different colors, form factors, etc. And while the company can't use ultra-wideband (UWB )technology as AirTags can, Chipolo co-founder Primoz Zelensek doesn't think that's a problem. "We're not seeing that ultra-wideband is actually needed for these use cases," he told TechCrunch.
UWB allows AirTag owners to see an arrow on their iPhones whenever they are near the item they're trying to locate. The theory is that it makes things easier to find, although its usefulness is up for debate. Zelensek thinks it's better to warn people when they leave an item behind and then give them the option to make it play a sound for easier locating.
"The sound is much more important," he said.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.