New Apple ‘AirTags’ Are on the Horizon

Apple AirTag Concept Credit: EverythingApplePro
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Apple’s upcoming Bluetooth tracking accessories may be called AirTags, according to several pieces of evidence uncovered this week.

While Apple has yet to hint at or confirm the existence of the devices, there’s pretty clear evidence that they’re in development. And now, we may just know what Apple will dub the devices when they actually launch.

AirTags in iOS 13.2

The first mention of the AirTag name was spotted in the iOS 13.2 update by 9to5Mac’s Guilherme Rambo. According to Rambo, there’s a specific folder in the software update’s filesystem named “AirTag.”

It’s also worth noting that there is a video asset called “BatterySwap” within that folder, which could be a clip walking users through how to swap the batteries on their tracking accessories.

The folders and assets do appear to just be placeholders at this point, since they contain images of already released Apple products like AirPods and HomePod.

Because of that, they don’t reveal much else about the upcoming Bluetooth tracking devices beyond a possible moniker.

Apple AirTag Patent?

In addition to the likely evidence within iOS 13.2, there are also hints that Apple has recently acquired the trademark rights to the “AirTag” name.

That’s according to some investigative reporting by MacRumors. And although there isn’t a “smoking gun,” there are some interesting signs that Apple may now own the AirTag name.

More specifically, there appeared to be a back-and-forth dispute on an AirTag trademark application in the U.S. Some of the documentation points toward a law firm named Baker & McKenzie, which has worked with Apple on multiple occasions.

On Oct. 1, the AirTag trademark was transferred to a company with no public presence called GPS Avion LLC. The company was founded in July 2019 through a process that Apple has used in the past to create shell companies when dealing with trademark issues.

As you can see, there’s no direct tie to Apple — yet. But the evidence is especially interesting when you consider the use of the AirTag name in iOS 13.2.

How AirTags Will Work

If you aren’t familiar, AirTags are largely expected to be Apple-produced Bluetooth tracking accessories similar to Tile trackers.

Users will be able to affix AirTags onto various accessories or objects and use the Find My app to locate them.

Beyond just offering Bluetooth tracking capabilities, AirTags are rumored to take advantage of the new U1 chip in the 2019 iPhones — which leverage Ultra Wideband technology for extremely precise location tracking.

There are also hints that AirTag will be able to use ARKit features to help users find lost items using augmented reality.

It isn’t clear when AirTags will actually be unveiled, how much they’ll go for, or what other features Apple will include. But based on everything we’ve seen so far, there’s a good chance that they’ll arrive sooner than later.

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