Apple is expected to unveil a new set of tracking devices called AirTags eventually. There were even rumors they could debut at Apple's October iPhone 12 event. Sadly, the most recent reports state that these might be delayed until as late as March 2021.
Apple Tags or AirTags?
No one knows the official name until Apple reveals it for anything, including iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. There was, however, a YouTube video Apple released showing steps to use the Find My app on iPhone that accidentally included a leaked screenshot showing the word AirTags. Since this was right from Apple's own support video, we believe this will be the official name of the product. The moniker 'AirTags' seems nailed on at this point.
What are AirTags?
From leaks and rumors, it is believed that AirTags are location trackers much like the popular Tile. The general idea is that as long as you have your iPhone or iPad, you can find the AirTags wherever they are. Attach them to your keys or put one in your wallet and you'll always be able to find those items. There are already a number of NFC tags for iPhone on the market. AirTags appear to be similar, but with deeper integration with iOS and iPadOS.
How do they work?
Leaked screenshots show Airtags being set up in the Find My app, which implies that these tags will be listed alongside your Apple devices, like your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. If these screenshots are real, we can expect to be able to track missing items that AirTags are linked with, like a purse or wallet, the same way we'd be able to track our iPhones.
Bluetooth or Wi-Fi?
From leaked screenshots, it appears that Airtags will use Bluetooth, meaning there will be a limited range that you will be able to ping the devices. There's no official word on how long that range will be, but Bluetooth range is somewhere in the range 200-400 feet is likely a good guess, but still just an estimate.
Based on leaked images showing the set up process for AirTags it looks like they work similarly to how AirPods, AirPods Pro, and Beats headphones work, which implies that AirTags are Bluetooth connected.
This makes sense since Wi-Fi is only useful if both the device and AirTags are on the same Wi-Fi network. I don't know about you, but I'm less worried about misplacing my wallet in my house than I am about losing it at a restaurant or something.
According to leaked screenshots showing AirTags in the Find My app, there may even be a lost mode that will allow other Apple users to find your lost Airtags if they are out of Bluetooth range of you. Hopefully, if some kind-hearted iPhone users come along, they can return your keys, wallet, or whatever you have your AirTags attached to.
What software do you need to use AirTags?
If you want to be sure you're on the right operating system, you should update to iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 as soon as it becomes available. That being said, however, we've seen evidence of AirTags as early as iOS 13.2, which might mean these new little trackers will be compatible with older operating systems.
It was expected that Apple would unveil AirTags at its October iPhone 12 event, however, most recently it has been reported that Apple's AirTags are in fact delayed until 2021.
There's no official word on prices, but if you look at other comparable items — like the Tile Pro which costs about $35 — it likely won't cost hundreds of dollars.
It's also entirely possible that buying in a bundle of two or four might include a small amount of savings over buying AirTags individually — much like Tile does for its products.
Are you excited about AirTags?
Let us know in the comments below.