New leak reveals how Apple Tags could work

iPhone XS Find My app
iPhone XS Find My app (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Supposed new information has leaked regarding Apple's rumored AR app and Find My features.
  • The information was found "buried in iOS 14".
  • The leaks show new QR Code formats and audio alerts for location.

According to a new leak from Josh Constine of the Moving Product newsletter, the rumored AR app built by Apple (code name "Gobi") will include branded and brandable QR codes that will allow users to do such things as launch a direct link to the Mac Pro in the Apple Store app, jump to Star Wars: Rogue One in the iTunes Store, and unlock the signup form for getting a Starbuck's loyalty card.

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Additionally, information buried in iOS 14's Find My app shows audio files and haptic feedback for receiving special cues to help locate a missing devices, like "nearby" or "off course."

For Gobi, the branded QR codes include a comparison shopping feature for Apple Stores that shows a 3D rendering of an Apple Watch that users can spin, showing how an AR experience could work in the store. For example, a customer could scan an in-store QR code for an Apple Watch and bring up different Apple Watch colors, bands, and models to compare what is offered without having to hold something in their hands.

There are also new designs for QR codes that use colored cones instead of the typical dot matrix. There is also reference to a promotional discount and a 3D render of a pagoda with the code name "Sbux_Preview (presumably to "spruce up the decoration of the cafes while giving visitors something to play with").

The really interesting stuff comes in the video and audio files found in the Find My app in iOS 14, which include a spinning 3D rainbow Apple Logo, plus a list of alerts that include haptic feedback. The alerts let you know when you're getting "hotter" or "colder" to a device.

You'll hear encouraging sounds when you face the right direction so the lost gadget is 'Ahead' of you, when you're 'Nearby', or come within 'Arms Reach', while discouraging tones hint that you're headed off course.

This type of minutia location tracking could be used with any device that features a U1 ultra wideband chip. It could be exactly what Apple is planning for the rumored Apple Tags (though it's just as possible this is simply a new feature in the Find My app of iOS 14, that allows iPhones to "talk" to each other).

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

2 Comments
  • Microsoft did something like this years ago with Microsoft Tag. At least the branded QR code part. Never really caught on. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Capacity_Color_Barcode#Microsoft_Tag
  • Microsoft also put Windows on tablets. Never really caught on, but then the iPad came out and what do you know, it caught on. Execution is key, and Microsoft slip up on that a lot.