It’s been at least 18 months since we first heard that Apple was working on new item tracking tags that we know pretty much know will be called AirTags, and while the product remains missing in action even after three recent Apple events, new information keeps showing up leading us to believe they could still be just around the corner.
In fact, at this point it’s really starting to feel like Apple is simply sitting on its new AirTags, following rumours they not only started production two or three months ago, but that Apple now has them ready to go and is mostly just waiting for the right time to actually introduce them — possibly with iOS 14.3, which some sources say could arrive before the end of the year.
Still, with all of Apple’s fall events pretty much exhausted — we’d be genuinely shocked if Apple holds another one at this point — and the holiday season already upon us, it doesn’t really seem like AirTags are in the cards for 2020. We suspect these are too big to slip out via a mere press release, so we’re starting to think that predictions of a March 2021 release could be true after all.
However, that doesn’t mean that Apple isn’t still getting ready, and now a new photo shared by leaker Fudge (@choco_bit) on Twitter, reveals a potential AirTag “carrying accessory” that has all of the signs of being a legit Apple product.
Specifically, the accessory appears to be a small leather sleeve that could be used for AirTags, which would be in line with predictions by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman that some kind of leather case would be included with AirTags, which would be a more premium product than some have expected.
The photos also clearly show a stainless steel ring that would presumably be used as a keyring or other means of attaching an AirTag to a bag or purse, which also includes the classic Apple phrases “Designed by Apple in California” and “Assembled in China” etched into it.
The accessory also appears to align somewhat with recent Apple patents that show several possibilities for the AirTags, including various means of attaching them to objects that would need to be tracked.
The leaker notes, however, that this should be taken “with a bit of salt” since it wouldn’t be hard for it to be a Chinese-made knockoff product, however, if it is a fake, it’s a very good one, as even the text used on the keyring is in Apple’s San Francisco font, and the leather portion looks like a perfect match for Apple’s new Saddle Brown iPhone 12 cases and sleeves.
However, it also seems slightly odd to us that something as simple as a keychain ring would have the “Designed by” and “Assembled in” monikers; not only is this text that Apple doesn’t traditionally include on its accessories but “assembled” doesn’t really apply to these sorts of things in the same way as it would to a MacBook or iPhone.
Further, as somebody else points out on Twitter, it’s equally possible that the photo could be of a simple keychain sold at Apple’s campus store for employees; Apple has been offering up these sorts of products to employees for years, so it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if this were the case.