Apple has just launched its AirTags, small trackers that the stunned can hang on objects in order to find them from an iPhone when lost.
Easy to use and operating with formidable precision, AirTags notably capitalize on the impressive fleet of iPhones installed which acts as a relay beacon to locate them.
Sold 35 euros, without counting the accessory to hang them, AirTags are not given, but could impose their concept to many uses.
Apple never invents anything.
With its small AirTags to hang, the apple brand takes over an existing concept, improves it and affixes its trademark.
For the heads in the air, the dizzy of all kinds, the disorderly, the chaotic, but also those and those wishing to secure small objects, bags, suitcases… what is the Apple gadget worth?
had fun losing certain things… the better to find them?
The first iPhone 11 and 12 affected
The size of a 2 euro coin, Apple's AirTag is absolutely discreet.
On the battery side, it is white.
On the front side, it reveals its metallic coating on which is engraved the logo of the brand with the apple.
Inside, a standard button cell, but above all a good dose of electronics.
indicates the presence of the Apple U1 chip, already present on the iPhone 11 and 12. It is notably thanks to it that the AirTag will be able to be detected from the Apple Finder application, present on all iPhone.
35 euros plus hooks
Operating in Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) and having according to Apple an autonomy of about a year, the small beacon can be configured in one minute with an iPhone. Nothing's easier. As with AirPods headphones, you just need to bring it close to the smartphone for it to be recognized. All that remains is to give it a name from among those proposed (keys, luggage, backpack, etc.), or to create one. And that's all. However, the most complicated thing is to hang it on the object to which you want to associate it.
Because Apple is of course running the
: in addition to the tag sold for 35 euros (119 euros for four), the purchase of an optional tether support is almost essential.
In this state, it is in fact impossible to attach the AirTag to a bunch of keys, for example.
To date, we find the AirTag keyring case from 13.95 euros, or the AirTag lanyard for suitcase at 35 euros.
But we can imagine Apple's usual partners having a blast in the coming months and offering all types of media for the AirTag.
Hermès did not wait and offers its AirTags accessories between 299 and 449 euros.
Accurate to within a few centimeters
To find the object to which the AirTag is attached, all you have to do is launch the Apple Finder application.
If the AirTag is within range of Bluetooth, it is possible to make it ring (here we are far from a howling siren) or to be guided by the indications on the iPhone screen.
Nothing to say, the small arrow to guide the user and the indication of the location of the beacon are hyperprecise, to within 10 cm.
Convenient to find an object with AirTag stuck under the cushions of the sofa or forgotten in a drawer, as we have seen.
It works every time.
You can even have fun organizing a little treasure hunt with the children in the apartment while waiting for deconfinement ...
Too bad we can't locate an iPhone from an AirTag (a function that the competitor Tile allows on its trackers).
On the other hand, if the beacon is out of Bluetooth range, Apple has another technique.
Hundreds of millions of iPhones on the network
The trump card of the firm with the apple so as not to lose anything?
Its fleet of hundreds of millions of iPhones in service which, like a perfectly meshed international network, can help any AirTag owner to find the lost object to which the beacon is attached.
No need for GPS or 4G / 5G on board the AirTag for it to be found.
Thanks to UWB (Ultra Wide Band) technology, the beacon is recognized by iPhone or iPad with the latest iOS 14.5 update.
Thus, an AirTag declared lost by its user in the Find My application can be spotted and its location reported. The person or people in the network who participate in this reunion, passing near the beacon, are not informed. They don't even know that they act as a relay beacon! The rescue operation is carried out in the background with the strictest anonymity and the data encrypted. Even Apple doesn't know anything about this exfiltration. Only the owner of the AirTag can locate it. If by chance a person discovers an AirTag and picks it up, the accessory can reveal the information that its owner has indicated by declaring it in "Lost" mode (contact, message, phone number, etc.). To do this, simply bring the AirTag near an iOS or Android smartphone,the reading takes place thanks to the NFC link. Well seen.
We thus “lost” a bag with AirTag in a public park, we went only several hundred meters away, and launched the search.
Unstoppable: our bag was automatically located to within ten centimeters.
Thanks to the Maps application, guidance was offered to us automatically and we just had to let ourselves be guided ...
A protocol with a future
The concept of the electronic beacon to geolocate a lost object from an application is not new.
Since 2012, the American firm Tile has forged a solid reputation in this sector.
More recently, Samsung launched its SmartTags.
And we also think of the French Invoxia and its GPS trackers to locate lost animals, stolen vehicles or bicycles.
This is not possible with the AirTag, which cannot follow a moving object.
Suddenly, the Apple-stamped beacon may seem to be catching the
, but Apple has more than one trick up its sleeve.
Thanks to its Localize protocol, the manufacturer also intends to sell its AirTag concept to manufacturers who will be able to implement the solution directly in their product.
This is what the manufacturer of bicycles VanMoof has just done with two first mounts that can be located from an iPhone and identifiable thanks to the “Locate with Apple Find My” logo.
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