AirTag packaging confirms it was ready as far back as 2019

AirTag Setup
AirTag Setup (Image credit: Joe Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's AirTag item track is now shipping and packaging shows dates as far back as 2019.
  • AirTag was rumored to be launching alongside the 2019 iPhone 11 but never did.

People are starting to receive their AirTag item trackers today and those paying close attention to the packaging will already have noticed one thing – it includes the date 2020.

Normally that wouldn't mean a lot, but in this instance, it shows that Apple was ready to ship the AirTag trackers as far back as last year. But when last year? Well, that's a good question.

It's a good question because those who picked up a leather holder for their new item tracker will also notice that its packaging proudly displays 2019 on it. Could it be possible that AirTags were supposed to ship 18 months or so ago?

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Well, yes. I was writing about 'Apple Tags' back in September 2019 and we've been expecting something to ship ever since. In fact, I'm fairly sure we were hearing about AirTags even before that – but my Google Fu is letting me down!

Why Apple took so long to get these things to market isn't clear, but I suspect it's the fact it needs iPhones with the U1 chip in the wild for them to work properly. That means iPhone 11 onwards – and it's taken until April 2021 for Apple to be confident that there are enough U1 chips in the wild for AirTags to work.

Regardless, our great international AirTag nightmare is over and these things are shipping. Now we just need AirPower to launch with 2018 written all over it!

AirTags are already looking to be pretty popular and they're a cert to be one of the best Bluetooth trackers you can buy.

Oliver Haslam

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.