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Apple Air Tags (Consolidated Threads)

Apple Air Tags (Consolidated Threads)

Old Apr 20, 2021, 1:58 pm
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Apple Air Tags (Consolidated Threads)

So compatible with iOS devices with U1 chip. The demo they showed was that the screen would give precise distance and directions to the AirTag.

Among the accessories they have for AirTags are luggage tags, though probably few would bother with a $449 Hermes luggage tag.

https://www.apple.com/shop/accessories/all/airtag

You use the Find My app, which tracks your iOS devices and people on a map display.

Do AirTags have the range to show up on a map if you left them a couple of miles away?

Or at an airport, would you be able to "see" where you checked luggage is if you put an AirTag inside of it? (Because I can't imagine it would be a good idea to put them outside checked luggage, too tempting for someone to take these $29 transponders)

I know there's a GPS luggage tracker but probably couldn't make a small device with enough battery to run GPS.

OK, here's the overview page:

https://www.apple.com/airtag/

It will show AirTags on a map display. The way it works is creating a mesh network of secure bluetooth connections to other devices. That's how it would get range. So if you're at baggage claim and you want to try to track your checked luggage coming off the plane, basically there would have to be a lot of other AirTag-compatible devices -- other Air Tags, maybe iOS devices -- for you to be able to reach your Air Tags which may be several hundred meters away depending on the airport.

When youʼve left something far behind, like at the beach or the gym, the Find My network — hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices around the world — helps track down your AirTag. And itʼs designed to protect your privacy every step of the way.

How does it work?

Your AirTag sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices in the Find My network. These devices send the location of your AirTag to iCloud — then you can go to the Find My app and see it on a map. The whole process is anonymous and encrypted to protect your privacy. And itʼs efficient, so thereʼs no need to worry about battery life or data usage.

Last edited by exp; Apr 20, 2021 at 2:12 pm
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Old Apr 20, 2021, 2:47 pm
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Originally Posted by exp
Do AirTags have the range to show up on a map if you left them a couple of miles away?
Tile which Apple is copying with the AirTags has a BlueTooth range up to 400 feet. AirTags will have a similar range using Bluetooth .
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Last edited by TGarza; Apr 21, 2021 at 5:10 am
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Old Apr 20, 2021, 5:25 pm
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I think the point here is that an AirTag can use any iOS device - not necessarily yours - to tell Apple's servers where it is. So as long as there is an iOS device near enough to the AirTag, and as long as that iOS device has internet access, you can track the AirTag.

I'm not sure if people will be able to set their iOS devices to not forward this type of info from others AirTags to Apple's servers, but Apple claims it'll all be anonymous and won't be used to track the intermediary iOS device somehow.

I see lots of potential nefarious uses for these - spouses tracking each other, PIs tracking cars, etc. But putting one in luggage should be an interesting one. A shipper might also stick one in a box or a shipping container with valuable cargo. You could also use one to figure out if there is an iOS device in the vicinity. Tons of other interesting use cases will emerge, I'm sure. You sell a couch on Craigslist and want to see where the buyer lives?
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Old Apr 20, 2021, 5:32 pm
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Some more thoughts:

A friend wants to embed one in his bicycle seat for tracking in case of potential theft.

Leave one in your car to see where the valet takes it or where you parked (assuming you don't have CarPlay which already does the latter).

There's an update if an AirTag seems to be following you and not its owner (for the spouse reason or similar). So on a plane where you have Wifi and the owner doesn't, will it think it's tracking you and keep alerting you? Or if the owner's phone runs out of juice?

As you can see, I'm fascinated by the possibilities here.
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 2:16 am
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So AirTags might invite more antitrust scrutiny, with some people accusing Apple of using privacy as a way to hobble competitors from competing with their own products by making users opt in to location tracking by apps and barring third parties from being able to use the U1 chip.

https://apple.news/Alu3By_1GTHCSt7vcP-GyeA
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by josephstern
Some more thoughts:

A friend wants to embed one in his bicycle seat for tracking in case of potential theft.

Leave one in your car to see where the valet takes it or where you parked (assuming you don't have CarPlay which already does the latter).

There's an update if an AirTag seems to be following you and not its owner (for the spouse reason or similar). So on a plane where you have Wifi and the owner doesn't, will it think it's tracking you and keep alerting you? Or if the owner's phone runs out of juice?

As you can see, I'm fascinated by the possibilities here.
I’m assume there’s some level of sophistication with the algorithm. If the AirTag is following 20 iPhones at a constant speed, Apple probably assumes you’re on a plane or train. The anti-stalk would only trigger if the AirTag appears to be following you exclusively — e.g., matching your speed and direction only, and not other iPhones.

Cars will be an interesting use case. If I put a tag on my car and my kid takes it, will it alert the kid they’re being followed?
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by josephstern
I think the point here is that an AirTag can use any iOS device - not necessarily yours - to tell Apple's servers where it is. So as long as there is an iOS device near enough to the AirTag, and as long as that iOS device has internet access, you can track the AirTag.

I'm not sure if people will be able to set their iOS devices to not forward this type of info from others AirTags to Apple's servers, but Apple claims it'll all be anonymous and won't be used to track the intermediary iOS device somehow.

I see lots of potential nefarious uses for these - spouses tracking each other, PIs tracking cars, etc. But putting one in luggage should be an interesting one. A shipper might also stick one in a box or a shipping container with valuable cargo. You could also use one to figure out if there is an iOS device in the vicinity. Tons of other interesting use cases will emerge, I'm sure. You sell a couch on Craigslist and want to see where the buyer lives?
Tile can use any iOS device or Android device with the Tile app enabled, and the bluetooth tracking/search is done by way of other Tile app users' devices too.

iOS devices can also disable location tracking, including for the "Find ___" stuff, but it's to be seen still if Apple will indeed make it such that people can adjust their settings to turn off being part of the "anonymous and won't be used to track the intermediary IOS device" system.

With the Tile app on devices, Apple systematically sends messages to the iOS device users that the app is being used in the background to track things so people can turn it off it easily when they want to do so. I wonder if Tile will consider Apple having done that to try to undermine Tile's customer base and effectiveness.
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder
Tile can use any iOS device or Android device with the Tile app enabled, and the bluetooth tracking/search is done by way of other Tile app users' devices too.

iOS devices can also disable location tracking, including for the "Find ___" stuff, but it's to be seen still if Apple will indeed make it such that people can adjust their settings to turn off being part of the "anonymous and won't be used to track the intermediary IOS device" system.

With the Tile app on devices, Apple systematically sends messages to the iOS device users that the app is being used in the background to track things so people can turn it off it easily when they want to do so. I wonder if Tile will consider Apple having done that to try to undermine Tile's customer base and effectiveness.
I only know 1 person who has Tile and Tile app installed. Over 70% of the people I know have iPhones. If all iOS devices are default (don't have to enable it) to help track Air Tags, Air Tags is going to destroy Tile. Every dog/cat should get an Air Tag on the collar.
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 4:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Need
I only know 1 person who has Tile and Tile app installed. Over 70% of the people I know have iPhones. If all iOS devices are default (don't have to enable it) to help track Air Tags, Air Tags is going to destroy Tile. Every dog/cat should get an Air Tag on the collar.
I don't know how widespread market penetration is in various countries for Tile, but I can say that in Denmark and Sweden I was amazed at how much coverage there was for Tiles even as the Tile app download counts for the region seemed pretty low. [I knew literally no one to have a Tile at the time beside the ones I grabbed; and if someone doesn't have a Tile, then they probably have no interest in getting the Tile app unless maybe to help a friend/relative to do a hunt.]

I tested the (free) service with multiple Tile trackers and it was quite clear that even in rather suburban areas of the major 3-5 cities in those two countries I would get timely enough feedback about the location that I felt pretty certain that I would be able to narrow in on a Tile within 30-60 minutes of getting into the area.

I assume Apple tiles -- AirTags -- will end up having much more widespread and timely coverage than Tiles for the very reason you suggest. The question then becomes if the AirTags market may spur the Tiles sales if Tiles goes into a substantial discount mode and this ends up being a case where Apple's product actually drives up sales and use of a competitor's product and thereby makes a competitor's product better too.

Samsung had a product like this too, but it seemed to work worse than Tile.

Last edited by GUWonder; Apr 21, 2021 at 4:12 pm
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 4:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Need
I only know 1 person who has Tile and Tile app installed. Over 70% of the people I know have iPhones. If all iOS devices are default (don't have to enable it) to help track Air Tags, Air Tags is going to destroy Tile. Every dog/cat should get an Air Tag on the collar.
The dog or cat can lose the tile or it can get wet,

I have had Tile for many years, great for keys vehicles and luggage tracking,,newer tiles have a changeable battery,
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 4:22 pm
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So actually AirTags will chirp if it's separated from it's main iPhone or iOS device for a certain amount of time.

My scenario of putting it in checked luggage may not work out too well if the thing is chirping while baggage handlers are near it.

Or the scenario of sneaking it in someone's bag without their knowledge.

So when you preorder on Friday, keep those facts in mind.
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder
I assume Apple tiles -- AirTags -- will end up having much more widespread and timely coverage than Tiles for the very reason you suggest. The question then becomes if the AirTags market may spur the Tiles sales if Tiles goes into a substantial discount mode and this ends up being a case where Apple's product actually drives up sales and use of a competitor's product and thereby makes a competitor's product better too.
If Tile is lowered to half the price of AirTag, I will still probably get AirTag. It's like an insurance. If I need to use it, I want the best out there even if I have to pay more. I was never interested in Tile, but I think I would get AirTag if Apple allows Find my AirTag app on my Android phone!
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 4:30 pm
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Originally Posted by exp
Or the scenario of sneaking it in someone's bag without their knowledge.
If that person is using an android, then they will never find out. I am the only one in the family using an Android phone. So, my wife can easily just drop an Airtag into my car to track me without me finding out LOL.
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 6:46 pm
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Originally Posted by exp
So actually AirTags will chirp if it's separated from it's main iPhone or iOS device for a certain amount of time.

My scenario of putting it in checked luggage may not work out too well if the thing is chirping while baggage handlers are near it.

Or the scenario of sneaking it in someone's bag without their knowledge.

So when you preorder on Friday, keep those facts in mind.
"And even if users don’t have an iOS device, an AirTag separated from its owner for an extended period of time will play a sound when moved to draw attention to it."

We really don't know how long that is. It could be a week. It could end up being a real annoying for delivery people.
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Old Apr 21, 2021, 7:45 pm
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Would be nice if you can turn off the audible warnings and let it operate in stealth mode.

Or watch people try to disable the speaker or whatever the mechanism for the audible alert is.
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