Hints and Leaks are becoming commonplace – this time it’s the features that wow
AirTags have been in development for months now. However, Apple has kept most details on the elusive product under wraps. We expected to hear some specifics on the AirTags at the company’s September and October press events, but although those occasions offered lots of other exciting launches, they remained silent on the Tags.
Only now have two new Apple patents come out for AirTags, featuring illustrations and suggestions about how the devices might work and where they could be useful— The answers might be more expansive than we thought.
In essence, AirTags are exactly what we expected them to be: Apple products akin to a Tiles, which can be placed on any object and thus track it. Intuitively, their primary function is to help users find lost items such as keys, wallets, or phones by sending out a locational signal to Apple devices. Reportedly, these signals will be more precise than any GPS, directing people to within feet of the Tag.
The new patents, however, suggest that the AirTags’ tracking abilities could be useful beyond just recovering everyday items. They could, for example, be attached to emergency equipment like fire extinguishers or defibrillators, helping people find such crucial tools in unfamiliar environments. They could also be used to track people via Apple Watches or the wristbands featured in the patent illustrations. While tracking human beings raises major ethical questions, it could also save lives in the events of kidnappings or missing people.
Beyond such grave alternatives, the patents also suggest more leisurely uses for the AirTags. By attaching them to one’s body, they could serve as advanced gears in augmented reality gaming platforms, or play a role in the new Apple Fitness+ app by monitoring posture and other health matters.
Tags could also be placed in public areas to send signals directly to other Apple devices with useful information such as maps and guides. The patent offers the example of a business placing a Tag at its entrance, ensuring that everyone who enters receives a map of the building.
When Apple delays (as with the MagSafe surprise just announced) good things happen…
As of right now, rumor has it that the AirTags will launch in March 2021, but given their perpetual delays so far and the precarious state of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is hard to say for sure when these devices will really become available. Nevertheless, the latest patents suggest that AirTags are going to be much more than mere Tile replicas. With that in mind, perhaps they will also be more worth the wait.
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