Apple Tracking Device May Be Called AirTag

Rumors have been circulating about Apple’s new tracking device. Similar to Tile, the device is expected to be called AirTag.

By Chand Bellur

October 28, 2019 at 6:47 p.m. PDT

Apple’s Tracking Device Expected Soon

People often misplace items, with catastrophic results. You may be in a rush to make a meeting, but can’t find your keys. Without some digital device to help locate them, you either need to miss the meeting, leave your home unlocked or lock yourself out. Neither situation is desirable.

Tile was one of the first companies to solve this problem elegantly. The San Mateo based company developed a compact tracking tag, closely integrated with today’s popular mobile operating systems.

Apple is often innovative, but they also take others’ ideas and use them outright or improve on them. At this time, not enough is known about AirTag (or whatever it will be called) to judge whether it’s a flagrant copy or an improvement.

Apple’s New Tracking Device May Be Called AirTag

Apple’s new tracking tag is rumored to be called AirTag. Some evidence supports this, however, it’s not definitive.

iOS 13.2 has references to AirTag in properties files. Currently, these key/value pairs only have images of AirPods as placeholders. These will probably be replaced with actual images of the AirTag device later.

Apple is making some attempt to be discreet, but they seem to encourage leaks for the sake of inexpensive public relations and marketing. Apple leaks go viral and social media can often be more effective than corporate marketing.

Accusations of Anti-Competitive Behavior

Recent changes to Location Services in iOS 13 have already upset Tile and other third-party companies. Apple’s new mobile operating system will pop up messages when Location Services are used in the background. Although developers like Tile can populate the messages and reassure users that their location is being detected innocuously, privacy concerns may have users turning Location Services off. When this happens, Tile does not work.

Apple plays by the same rules, but consumers may be more willing to approve Location Services for an Apple product than a third-party one. Going against Apple in a legal battle is difficult. With Apple expected to debut a rival tracking device, Tile may take a beating in the market.

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