When will Apple AirTags be released?
Alas, it was not to be, seemingly confirming tweets from leaker Jon Prosser that claimed that Apple has decided to push back the release of AirTags until March 2021.
However, in an updated prediction, Prosser now claims that Apple is going all-in on the AirTags after delays to the AirPods Studio. He suggests that Apple is planning to release AirTags around the iOS 14.3 update, expected in November, as Apple's upcoming software update is said to include AirTags-specific functionality.
It's unclear whether the reveal will come in the form of an event or a simple press release, but Prosser has detailed a possible 17 November event where we'll get our first look at the first Apple Silicon-enabled Mac, so it's possible that it could appear alongside the Mac at the November 2020 event.
How much will AirTags cost?
There’s currently no word on how much the AirTags will cost when they’re eventually released, but we can look at the competition – after all, if Apple wants to be competitive in a market full of trackers from the likes of Tile, it’ll have to match up in price. Tile’s most recent Tile Pro costs £29.99 in the UK and $34.99 in the US, so we could be looking at a similar price for the AirTags.
That being said, Apple does have a reputation for developing existing technology and improving it, and it’s entirely possible that the technology inside, and the integration with iOS, could elevate the value of Apple’s tracker above that of the competition. It can’t be too expensive though – after all, these things are designed to be lost.
The Tile Pro is already at the pricy end of the market though - other Bluetooth trackers we've reviewed cost even less, so Apple can't afford to go too high here.
AirTags features and spec rumours
Apple has yet to confirm the existence of AirTags officially, but Apple’s upcoming tracker has been the subject of plenty of leaks – including some from Apple itself.
The exact functionality is still pretty vague at this point, but most rumours suggest that AirTags are a Tile-like device that you attach to valuable items like your keys, and you’re then able to track them via an app if you misplace them.
Apple has the long-established Find My functionality built into pretty much every product it makes, and AirTags allow Apple to expand that to valuable non-Apple items that you might lose track of.
With that being said, it should come as no surprise that keen coders have found code snippets and references to AirTags within the iOS 14 Find My app code, and have even provided a basic idea of how it’ll work: per the code suggestion, you’ll get an alert on your iPhone when you walk too far away from an AirTag and it’ll begin bleeping too – unless you’re at home, where you’ll have to manually toggle the audible alert.
Other rumours suggest you’ll be able to utilise AR to help you find your items. Simply walk around with your iPhone and when you’re near your item, a balloon icon will appear on-screen to indicate exactly where your item is – that’s how it’ll work when you’re in range, anyway.
But what happens if you’ve left your keys on the bus? You’ll be out of range pretty fast, after all. That’s where rumours suggest Apple will utilise other iPhones to find your AirTag. It’s said to work in a similar way to Tile’s current offering, using nearby smartphones to pinpoint the location of your item.
Tile’s offering is limited because it requires users to have the app installed and running in the background, but the assumption is that any iPhone could potentially relay AirTag location data to the owner. It’s not confirmed of course, but it’d be a huge benefit over just about every other tracker on the market right now.
According to Apple leaker Jon Prosser, the AirTags will also work by utilising ultra-wideband tech – also known as UWB – to provide impressively precise location monitoring. The leaker also showcased renders of the upcoming AirTags apparently based on videos of the real tracker that he’d seen.
Apple AirTags (codename: B389)— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) September 14, 2020
- White front (no logo) CLEAN!
- Polished metal back
- Apple logo on back
3D render made by the AMAZING @CConceptCreator.
Sources shared with me a video of the real AirTags — to protect them, we made a 3D render to show you. pic.twitter.com/aKGOATXMMO
As seen in the mock-ups, the AirTags are essentially a white disk with a central metal plate on one side, and it’s apparently not much bigger than a bottlecap, although that is hard to verify at this point.
We'll update this article with new details as they're revealed, so check back soon for the latest AirTags news and rumours.