Apple’s upcoming AirTags wireless tracking devices will be waterproof and could feature a wireless charging system similar to an Apple Watch’s, according to a new report.
Those small tidbits come from a new report by Japanese site Mac Otakara that covered a range of topics including AirTags.
According to the piece, AirTags themselves will be “completely waterproof” and will feature magnetic wireless charging. No other details were shared beyond that, however.
On the other hand, a lot has been revealed about AirTags in past reports. Apple users will be able to attach AirTags to everyday items like keys or bags and use a new Items tab in the Find My app to locate them. They’ll also likely feature an augmented reality component and ultra-precise tracking thanks to Ultra Wideband technology.
Interestingly, the Mac Otakara report does seem to conflict with past information about the device. Specifically, 9to5Mac’s Guilherme Rambo discovered a video asset in an iOS 13.2 build that strongly suggested AirTags could sport user-replaceable batteries.
Mac Otakara’s claim, apparently sourced from people familiar with the next iPhone lineup, says that the batteries will be charged inductively suggests that they’ll be a standard Apple lithium-ion solution that won’t be user-swappable.
The Japanese news site doesn’t have a perfect reputation when it comes to Apple rumors. And it’s worth pointing out that 9to5Mac’s report conflicting claims came directly from code within an official iOS 13 build.
More than that, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery may not be as convenient as replaceable watch batteries unless they only need to be charged once every few months — or longer. Rival devices, like those made by Tile, only need to have their batteries replaced once a year.
It’s also unclear whether AirTags would use the same charging puck as an Apple Watch, or if it would be another similar charging solution.
In any case, Mac Otakara’s claim that the devices will be completely waterproof does seem to hold water. Most of Apple’s devices have become increasingly waterproof over the years, and even some Tile trackers are already high water-resistant.
Apple AirTags Release Date
As far as when AirTags could arrive, that’s much less clear. Today’s report suggested that Apple will announce them in the fall alongside new iPhone models. Despite that, there are some indications that an official debut could come much sooner than that.
Last week, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecast that AirTags wouldn’t enter mass production until the second or third quarter of the year.
While that means we likely won’t see AirTags hit shelves until the second half of 2020, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple won’t debut AirTags at its potential March 31 event. Apple has a long track record of announcing first-generation product lineups well before they actually launch to the public.