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Apple’s new Tile-like tracking device could be called AirTags

Apple is working on creating its own Bluetooth tracker, similar to Tile. The tiny device could be used like Tile to track things like keys, wallets, and more.

Reportedly called “AirTags,” the devices are expected to be small, round circles that can be attached to items and then tracked through Apple’s “Find My” app, similar to how you might track a lost iPhone or iPad.

The device’s name was spotted by 9to5 Mac in Apple’s iOS 13.2 release Monday, October 28. It also noticed a “BatterySwap” video asset that suggests that the batteries in the device can be swapped out.

The device is expected to leverage the ultra-wideband U1 chip in the newest iPhones to offer more precise tracking than some competitors are capable of. It will also reportedly have an augmented reality component that would allow you to locate an item by pointing your camera at an area where your keys or other items might be.

While it initially launched as just a keychain, Tile currently offers a wide range of different trackers. Options for the device include a sticker that can be attached to something like a remote control; Slim, a card-like tracker that fits in a wallet; and the Pro and Mate trackers that sport the device’s initial keychain design.

Pro has a range of 400 feet, Mate and Slim 200 feet, and the Sticker 150 feet. All four devices are water-resistant. You can also activate a ringing noise in each from your phone to offer a little assistance when it comes to finding them. It’s not quite the AR-style offering that Apple is presumably offering with Airtags, but it is exceptionally helpful.

The folder within iOS 13.2 called AirTags currently contains placeholder images for things like Apple’s HomePod and AirPods, according to 9to5Mac, so there are still more details to be revealed.

One big question is if Apple plans to launch the device is when it might make that announcement. Many expected to see it at Apple’s September event, but the company didn’t announce it then. Since the file folder exists in this recent version of the OS, 9to5 Mac suggests that the announcement could potentially come as soon as this week.

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Emily Price
Emily is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. Her book "Productivity Hacks: 500+ Easy Ways to Accomplish More at…
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