'Apple Tags' tracking devices launching summer 2020, says Ming-Chi Kuo

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited June 2020
The rumored "Apple Tags" tracking fobs will ship in the middle of 2020, Ming-Chi Kuo believes, with shipments of the Ultra Wideband-based tag anticipated to be in the order of "tens of millions" by the end of the year.

The iPhone 11, Pro, and Pro Max all include UWB support required for 'Apple Tag' location.
The iPhone 11, Pro, and Pro Max all include UWB support required for 'Apple Tag' location.


"Apple Tags," a piece of hardware that has surfaced in software leaks, is supposedly edging closer to launch and an eventual release. In a note to investors seen by AppleInsider, Ming-Chi Kuo claims the ultra wideband-based location system will be arriving at some point in 2020.

In discussions about Apple supply cain firm USI, Kuo expects the firm to start shipping components for an "UWB tag" starting in the second or third quarter of 2020. Kuo doesn't directly mention "Apple Tag" by name, but the description given for the product lines up closely for the device.

"We believe that the ultra-wideband (UWB) tag will enhance the user experience of iOS's 'find' and augmented reality applications by offering measurement functions in the short distance," writes Kuo. Previous speculation pointed to the "Apple Tag" being closely linked to the "Find My" features offered by Apple, and would take advantage of UWB to locate the position of the tag for an iPhone 11 user more accurately than currently possible with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Earlier reports also pointed to an augmented reality view, which could show the expected location for the tag using a virtual red balloon and string as an overlay of the camera view.

Kuo believes USI will be a primary supplier for the tag's single in-line package (SIP), with the firm performing manufacturing for 60% of shipments.

Previous speculation from Kuo put the "Apple Tag" launch in the first six months of 2020. However, the ongoing coronavirus outbreak may cause some delays in manufacturing.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Apple can say hello to lawsuits for pulling competitors apps, while developing a competing product (on this one).  Also, considerable antitrust scrutiny...

    Not sure why Apple is going down this road, unless they figure the App Store is going to be spun off anyways.

    Maybe Apple is just desperate for a product that makes AR useful, after getting little interest from developers...
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Apple can say hello to lawsuits for pulling competitors apps, while developing a competing product (on this one).  Also, considerable antitrust scrutiny...

    Not sure why Apple is going down this road, unless they figure the App Store is going to be spun off anyways.

    Maybe Apple is just desperate for a product that makes AR useful, after getting little interest from developers...
    Can you please give some background on your post?  Who’s app did they pull that is related to this upcoming product launch?

    Apple Tags sounds just like Tile, though hopefully much better.  My one experience with a Tile Slim was terrible.  I still see the Tile app in the App Store, so I have no idea what your cryptic post is referring to.
    cornchipfastasleeplolliverseanjdamn_its_hotargonautrandominternetperson
  • Reply 3 of 20
    Apple can say hello to lawsuits for pulling competitors apps, while developing a competing product (on this one).  Also, considerable antitrust scrutiny...

    Not sure why Apple is going down this road, unless they figure the App Store is going to be spun off anyways.

    Maybe Apple is just desperate for a product that makes AR useful, after getting little interest from developers...
    What are you talking about? Are you claiming Apple can’t make a product similar to one that someone else has made? Why? Tile has no special privilege that products them from competitors. 
    fastasleeplolliverargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 20
    Apple can say hello to lawsuits for pulling competitors apps, while developing a competing product (on this one).  Also, considerable antitrust scrutiny...

    Not sure why Apple is going down this road, unless they figure the App Store is going to be spun off anyways.

    Maybe Apple is just desperate for a product that makes AR useful, after getting little interest from developers...
    What are you talking about? Are you claiming Apple can’t make a product similar to one that someone else has made? Why? Tile has no special privilege that products them from competitors. 
    He's definitely not making that claim. Just read the first sentence.  What he did do was incorrectly hop on this particular topic -the apparent similarity between Tags and Tile-  to complain about Apple's penchant for coincidentally finding issue with some apps right around the time Apple is intro'ing it's own versions. This definitely ain't that and this thread is not the venue for that unrelated complaint.   
    jcs2305
  • Reply 5 of 20
    A hardware tag seems like a very Apple way of providing a reason for their 'streetview' feature. Sure Apple's is better looking, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to have 3d depth photography of every street unless it was going to get used for something. The rumoured Tag makes sense, it could show you a lost item exactly in the 3d space, and then later in person with AR.

    On the other hand, Google seems to focus their map developments on ways of driving new ad revenue, such as ads inside the maps, tracking the user or forcing businesses to outbid each other for eyeballs, or soon, outbidding each other for robot-phone calls. I find this a very limited way of thinking, and it largely reproduces features already available in the assistant AIs and 3rd party apps (OpenTable, etc). Google's priorities are also demonstrated by how lacklustre streetview has become, I imagine if it was tied to advertising I'd be greeted by something a little more recent than a 7 year old photo of my street that looks like it was taken with a Nokia 8110.
    cornchiplolliver
  • Reply 6 of 20
    It is going to need something more than just UWB to be a useful tag for locating, it would need at least Bluetooth to make it locatable from further by various devices.  UWB range is pretty small.  
    cornchip
  • Reply 7 of 20
    It is going to need something more than just UWB to be a useful tag for locating, it would need at least Bluetooth to make it locatable from further by various devices.  UWB range is pretty small.  
    UWB goes through walls and is measured on the order of meters. It's the tech used in industrial RTLS systems. More than capable for indoor locating. Larger spaces (multiple shops or different departments in a store) could easily be instrumented with multiple emitters/sensors.
    cornchiplolliverseanj
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Apple can say hello to lawsuits for pulling competitors apps, while developing a competing product (on this one).  Also, considerable antitrust scrutiny...

    Not sure why Apple is going down this road, unless they figure the App Store is going to be spun off anyways.

    Maybe Apple is just desperate for a product that makes AR useful, after getting little interest from developers...
    What are you talking about? Are you claiming Apple can’t make a product similar to one that someone else has made? Why? Tile has no special privilege that products them from competitors. 
    He's definitely not making that claim. Just read the first sentence.  What he did do was incorrectly hop on this particular topic -the apparent similarity between Tags and Tile-  to complain about Apple's penchant for coincidentally finding issue with some apps right around the time Apple is intro'ing it's own versions. This definitely ain't that and this thread is not the venue for that unrelated complaint.   
    But he also says "while developing a competing product (on this one).  Also, considerable antitrust scrutiny..." which makes his post completely confusing and seemingly making little sense. Thus, "What are you talking about?" Very interested to hear the clarification of what was meant. As is, I don't see any anti-trust issue with Apple producing a Tile competitor. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Apple can say hello to lawsuits for pulling competitors apps, while developing a competing product (on this one).  Also, considerable antitrust scrutiny...

    Not sure why Apple is going down this road, unless they figure the App Store is going to be spun off anyways.

    Maybe Apple is just desperate for a product that makes AR useful, after getting little interest from developers...
    What are you talking about? Are you claiming Apple can’t make a product similar to one that someone else has made? Why? Tile has no special privilege that products them from competitors. 
    He's definitely not making that claim. Just read the first sentence.  What he did do was incorrectly hop on this particular topic -the apparent similarity between Tags and Tile-  to complain about Apple's penchant for coincidentally finding issue with some apps right around the time Apple is intro'ing it's own versions. This definitely ain't that and this thread is not the venue for that unrelated complaint.   
    But he also says "while developing a competing product (on this one).  Also, considerable antitrust scrutiny..." which makes his post completely confusing and seemingly making little sense. Thus, "What are you talking about?" Very interested to hear the clarification of what was meant. As is, I don't see any anti-trust issue with Apple producing a Tile competitor. 
    The problem is he starts with an incorrect premise and then builds narrative arguments to support it.  Of course it's going to make little sense.  The antitrust scrutiny ties back to the apps having issues when Apple develops similar tech.  Again, incorrectly applied argument.  When viewed as a whole and in context, that quote seems pretty clear and obviously wrong.  What it seems you're doing is parsing bits and pieces trying to find separate meaning in each bit and piece.  You're looking at the Tile tree, Apple tree, antitrust scrutiny tree...  when you should have been looking at the conflated forest.  He combine two topics and came up with all kinds of wrong.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    another bit of Technology that IMHO is an answer really searching for a compelling question.
    I'll be passing this stuff by. Actually anything that does tracking is just not on my buy list.

  • Reply 11 of 20
    cwingrav said:
    It is going to need something more than just UWB to be a useful tag for locating, it would need at least Bluetooth to make it locatable from further by various devices.  UWB range is pretty small.  
    UWB goes through walls and is measured on the order of meters. It's the tech used in industrial RTLS systems. More than capable for indoor locating. Larger spaces (multiple shops or different departments in a store) could easily be instrumented with multiple emitters/sensors.
    I don't use Tile BT tags for indoor locating, I use it for things that could get lost outdoors, and the crowdsourcing helps making finding things easier.  UWB by itself will be a big disappointment, as BT is already too short of range for locating things.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    AI doesn’t give a clear description.  Here’s the previous ‘rumor’ in the quotes below.
    What Apple is actually up to...who knows until it’s released.  I’m thinking Tiles + AR (mapping).  I’m ‘hearing’ regular bad behavior from Apple with regards to the App Store, and assuming more of the same.  If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.  But, I think it’s just a matter of time before antitrust issues results in the App Store becoming independent.

     AirTags are small tracking tiles with Bluetooth connectivity that can be used to find lost items. There are several similar products on the market, such as Tile and Adero, but Apple's version will be more deeply integrated with Apple devices.Jan 29, 2020”


  • Reply 13 of 20
    Apple can say hello to lawsuits for pulling competitors apps, while developing a competing product (on this one).  Also, considerable antitrust scrutiny...

    Not sure why Apple is going down this road, unless they figure the App Store is going to be spun off anyways.

    Maybe Apple is just desperate for a product that makes AR useful, after getting little interest from developers...
    What are you talking about? Are you claiming Apple can’t make a product similar to one that someone else has made? Why? Tile has no special privilege that products them from competitors. 
    He's definitely not making that claim. Just read the first sentence.  What he did do was incorrectly hop on this particular topic -the apparent similarity between Tags and Tile-  to complain about Apple's penchant for coincidentally finding issue with some apps right around the time Apple is intro'ing it's own versions. This definitely ain't that and this thread is not the venue for that unrelated complaint.   
    But he also says "while developing a competing product (on this one).  Also, considerable antitrust scrutiny..." which makes his post completely confusing and seemingly making little sense. Thus, "What are you talking about?" Very interested to hear the clarification of what was meant. As is, I don't see any anti-trust issue with Apple producing a Tile competitor. 
    The problem is he starts with an incorrect premise and then builds narrative arguments to support it.  Of course it's going to make little sense.  The antitrust scrutiny ties back to the apps having issues when Apple develops similar tech.  Again, incorrectly applied argument.  When viewed as a whole and in context, that quote seems pretty clear and obviously wrong.  What it seems you're doing is parsing bits and pieces trying to find separate meaning in each bit and piece.  You're looking at the Tile tree, Apple tree, antitrust scrutiny tree...  when you should have been looking at the conflated forest.  He combine two topics and came up with all kinds of wrong.
    laugh...All I can say is if you think I give that much examination & parsing time to the whimsical posts of people who don't make sense, then the time you spend on sites like this means something different to you than it does me. 

    If he explains what on earth he's talking about, great. If not just more noise. Shrug.
    fastasleeplolliver
  • Reply 14 of 20
    another bit of Technology that IMHO is an answer really searching for a compelling question.
    I'll be passing this stuff by. Actually anything that does tracking is just not on my buy list.

    Have you ever lost a wallet? Of course, the short range of this product won’t help if you dropped it in the parking lot and drove off, but if you back track, it might save you a very large headache. 
    lolliverseanj
  • Reply 15 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,809member
    cwingrav said:
    It is going to need something more than just UWB to be a useful tag for locating, it would need at least Bluetooth to make it locatable from further by various devices.  UWB range is pretty small.  
    UWB goes through walls and is measured on the order of meters. It's the tech used in industrial RTLS systems. More than capable for indoor locating. Larger spaces (multiple shops or different departments in a store) could easily be instrumented with multiple emitters/sensors.
    Interesting application idea to use tags to locate products inside a store, except for the additional maintenance requirements related to batteries. I know of at least one vendor who did something very similar with electronic shelf labels that in addition to product location would also change the item price based on proximity to a specific customer (e.g., loyalty program, accumulated points, etc.). It sounded like a clever idea that could apply to other domains, like industrial plant equipment, warehouses, libraries, etc., but I cannot recall ever seeing anything actually deployed. In fact, many of the fine granularity location and tracking promises that were made around RFID more than a decade ago have still not seen the light of day.  I think AI and AR will follow a similar pattern of excessively optimistic expectations up-front, followed by a scaling back of expectations as all the kinks are worked out during a period of slow adoption, and finally to a gradual growth where many of the original expectations are achieved but over a much longer period of time than the optimists originally believed. Having a killer app can really change the game, so who knows?
  • Reply 16 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    another bit of Technology that IMHO is an answer really searching for a compelling question.
    I'll be passing this stuff by. Actually anything that does tracking is just not on my buy list.

    I’m getting one for the cat. 
    rochfordfastasleeplolliverseanj
  • Reply 17 of 20
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,937member
    another bit of Technology that IMHO is an answer really searching for a compelling question.

    To each his own, but if Apple can make this work right and small enough, I will be ALL over it.  I lose my phone, my iPad, my keys and my wallet all the time. My watch helps me find my phone, but an AR view done right would be a quantum leap forward for me!

    Interesting how many people are criticizing it before we know what it is and what it can do...
    fastasleeplolliverseanj
  • Reply 18 of 20
    AI doesn’t give a clear description.  Here’s the previous ‘rumor’ in the quotes below.
    What Apple is actually up to...who knows until it’s released.  I’m thinking Tiles + AR (mapping).  I’m ‘hearing’ regular bad behavior from Apple with regards to the App Store, and assuming more of the same.  If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.  But, I think it’s just a matter of time before antitrust issues results in the App Store becoming independent.

    ” AirTags are small tracking tiles with Bluetooth connectivity that can be used to find lost items. There are several similar products on the market, such as Tile and Adero, but Apple's version will be more deeply integrated with Apple devices.Jan 29, 2020”
    You’re wrong.

    What at all does anything about this product have anything to do with the App Store or your imaginary situation where it becomes “independent”, whatever that means or how it’d relate to a tracking device made by Apple?
    lolliver
  • Reply 19 of 20

    A hardware tag seems like a very Apple way of providing a reason for their 'streetview' feature. Sure Apple's is better looking, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to have 3d depth photography of every street unless it was going to get used for something. The rumoured Tag makes sense, it could show you a lost item exactly in the 3d space, and then later in person with AR.
    Not sure why you’d make this connection. Walk Around is already used to explore locations, just as the name implies. Why would you need it to find an object on a map? If you dropped your keys in, say, a home, you’d go there then use the Find My app to locate it precisely when there using the UWB features. There’s no situation where Walk Around would factor into this unless you wanted to see what the street looks like where you lost your thing, which would be pretty random. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 20 of 20

    another bit of Technology that IMHO is an answer really searching for a compelling question.
    I'll be passing this stuff by. Actually anything that does tracking is just not on my buy list.

    My SO searches for her keys on a nearly daily basis. Used to have an old Tile on it before the battery died on it, but it helped immensely. If these are done right, and they will be if they get released, you can bet I’ll be buying one for her immediately. And maybe one for each of the cats like RayZ.

    Guessing you don’t want one for tinfoil hat reasons though, since you mentioned “anything that does tracking”.
    lolliver
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