Airtags bring objects into apple’s “where is?”-network

Airtags bring objects into apple's 'where is?'-network'wo ist?'-netzwerk

Apple has introduced an in-house object tracker: The roughly mint-sized "AirTag" can be attached to a keychain or a bag, for example, and can thus help to find the items at any time – even if they should get lost on the road.

The AirTags use Bluetooth and ultra-wideband (UWB) technology and can be engraved for more personalization, including emojis, Apple said.

The AirTags are available in Apple’s "Where is?"-network and are to be integrated accordingly uber the "Where is?"-Let app be found pre-installed on iPhones and iPads. If an AirTag is lost, it sends out a signal via Bluetooth that virtually all iPhones and iPads listen for by default. According to the manufacturer, the network now comprises nearly 1 billion devices.

Protection from third-party tracking

If a tracker is spotted by a third-party iPhone, the device transmits its location to Apple’s server, and the owner of the AirTag can then track the location via the "Where is"-Retrieve app and thus ideally find the lost object again. Via ultra-wideband, precise localization should be possible on site – from newer iPhones with U1 chip.

Apple’s network relies on a public-key encryption method and end-to-end encryption so that only the AirTag owner can see the retrieved location – but not Apple or the (unwitting) finder. Researchers at TU Darmstadt recently said Apple’s design of the protocol meets its privacy goals. A weak point in the Mac app was eliminated by the company last year.

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Contact data can also be stored on the tag, which can be read by any NFC-capable device, enabling the honest finder to contact the company.

To prevent unwanted third-party tracking, AirTags play a sound to draw attention, Apple writes. This is what happens when they are disconnected from the owner’s device for a long time. From any smartphone, the tag could then be deactivated.

AirTags also in a pack of four

A single AirTag costs 35 euros, an AirTags four-pack Apple will offer for 119 euros. The object tracker is to be released on 30. April to go on sale. In cooperation with Hermès, Apple will also offer leather accessories for the AirTags, including keychains and luggage tags at prices of several hundred euros. Apple’s own AirTag closing tags cost around 40 euros a piece.

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