Analyst predicts 'tens of millions' of ultra-wideband tags will be shipped in 2020 suggesting a launch of AirTags

Apple in China
Apple in China (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Kuo expects Asahi Electronics to be the main SiP supplier.
  • It will produce them for use in UWB tags.
  • It's thought they will become Apple's AirTags.

I'd been hoping to see Apple announce AirTags alongside iPhone 9 next month, but that now seems unlikely with analyst Ming-Chi Kuo saying that production by Asahi Electronics will reach "tens of millions" by the end of 2020.

That would suggest that Apple doesn't intend to launch its product until later this year, potentially alongside iPhone 12. Asahi Electronics will reportedly be producing the system-in-package (SIP) that will power AirTags.

We expect Universal Asahi Electronics to begin shipping SiPs for UWB tags in 2–3Q20, with shipments reaching tens of millions in 2020.We believe that UWB tags can enhance the iOS search and AR application experience through the close-range measurement function. We expect Huaxu to be the main supplier of SiP for UWB tags, with a supply ratio of approximately 60%.

AirTags are thought to be Tile-like tracking devices that will allow users to keep tabs on things like wallets, bags, and more. We've been seeing mention of the tags in iOS betas since late last year. At one point a launch alongside iPhone 11 was thought to be likely, but we're still waiting almost six months later.

The tags are thought to tie into UWB chips built into iPhones and other devices, creating a network of sorts. That will allow devices to be located even if they are not near a network or the device they were paired with.

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.