In a now rare announcement of an entirely new product category, Apple today introduced AirTags, a Tile-like personal location device.
AirTags can be placed in or on personal belongings for tracking with the Find My (formerly Find My iPhone) app on iPhones, iPads, or Macs. Users can then find those devices, including those detected by other nearby Apple devices.
The new devices capitalize on Apple’s work to bring augmented reality features to its devices. Users can lift their phone’s cameras and see the locations of their AirTags accurately in real-world physical space on the screen, using the U1 ultra-wideband chip Apple recently introduced on iPhones. Like some other similar products, AirTags can also emit a sound to make them easier to find.
The small, round AirTags pair via Bluetooth to users’ iPhones and iCloud accounts in much the same way as AirPods. The Find My app has a new tab called “Items” to track whatever the AirTags are associated with. Users also receive notifications when they are separated from their items, which can help them avoid losing their belongings.
Apple also made an aggressive pitch about privacy, describing several features intended to make the devices track objects rather than people.
Preorders start this Friday for $29 per AirTag or $99 for a pack of four. Delivery starts on April 30.
List image by Apple