'AirTags' leak reveals circular button design of tracking accessory

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited September 2020
Just one day before Apple is set to reveal new products as part of its "Time Flies" special event, prolific leaker Jon Prosser has offered more details of what to expect for "AirTags," including renders of what it will look like.

A render of Apple's AirTags [via Jon Prosser]
A render of Apple's AirTags [via Jon Prosser]


Posted to YouTube, Jon Prosser's video airs the day before Apple will hold its annual September special event, which will most likely feature the "iPhone 12" and the "Apple Watch Series 6." For the video, Prosser has revealed more details about one of the items that isn't a major release: "AirTags"

On Sunday, Prosser gave a heads-up to his followers about the video, claiming "AirTags and AirPods Studio look great. I'll show you on Monday."

In the video, Prosser offers renders of what the "AirTags" look like. He claims he was sent video of the accessories, but to protect sources, the footage was sent off to be recreated as a 3D render via ConceptCreator .

A clearer view of the base of the
A clearer view of the base of the "AirTag" [via Jon Prosser]


As brought up in earlier rumors, the "AirTag" basically consists of a round white disc, with a metal back bearing the Apple logo and other related information. The size of the accessory will be roughly the same as a bottle cap.

According to Prosser, Apple will be supplying a keychain for the tag, which will be sold separately. Pricing remains unknown for either the "AirTag" or the keychain.

The tag's use of Ultra-Wideband is also being heralded as a start of Apple's widespread use of the technology throughout its ecosystem, beyond the iPhone 11's use to enhance AirDrop.

What are AirTags?

"AirTags" are Apple's accessory for tracking down items a user may have lost. At its surface, it is similar to the Tile trackers, in that it takes the form of a small fob that can be attached to the item that needs to be tracked.

On their own, the "AirTags" aren't thought to be able to receive a signal, but are able to broadcast. By using Apple's U1 chip, iPhones including the iPhone 11 and later will be able to track the position of the tag, by taking advantage of both Bluetooth and Ultra-Wideband signals.

In a second tweet, Prosser discussed the U1 chip and UWB as something "coming to all future Apple products."

The front and back of
The front and back of "AirTags" [via Jon Prosser]


The tracker transmits both, in the hope of being picked up by a receiving device. Rumors indicate the Find My app will allow users to locate the tags, and for the UWB signals, would be able to pin down the location in the local vicinity with considerable accuracy.

The system also works when outdoors and at further distances, by taking advantage of other iPhones with U1 chips. An iPhone passing by the lost tag may receive a ping, which is able to be transmitted to the original owner using end-to-end encryption, allowing for the general location of the tag to be known.

The idea is feasible in principle, as there are over 1.5 billion active Apple users, many of them using U1-equipped devices, which means there will be relatively few places on the planet that won't be covered. Also, as the "AirTag just transmits on Bluetooth and UWB, this saves battery power, as it doesn't need to transmit GPS coordinates, something that the passing iPhone would be able to determine itself.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    Without the size, this leak is worthless.  Did anyone think it was going to be a triangle or square?  My expectation and hope is that it will be surprisingly small--think fingernail size rather than half-dollar size.
    watto_cobralkrupp
  • Reply 2 of 35
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,857member
    Without the size, this leak is worthless.  Did anyone think it was going to be a triangle or square?  My expectation and hope is that it will be surprisingly small--think fingernail size rather than half-dollar size.
    That would be sweet, but my bet is that it will take a CR-2016 like Tile. 

    But perhaps not. Either way those are clearly not renderings based on any kind of finalized engineering. The metal plate isn’t even attached to the main hardware. Unless it’s some kind of magnetic mounting piece? Guess we’ll find out tomorrow! 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 35
    Without the size, this leak is worthless.  Did anyone think it was going to be a triangle or square?  My expectation and hope is that it will be surprisingly small--think fingernail size rather than half-dollar size.
    The article itself, that you just commented on, clearly states it will be about the size of a bottle cap in diameter.
    cornchipdewmetjwolfRayz2016watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 4 of 35
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,857member
    AF_Hitt said:
    Without the size, this leak is worthless.  Did anyone think it was going to be a triangle or square?  My expectation and hope is that it will be surprisingly small--think fingernail size rather than half-dollar size.
    The article itself, that you just commented on, clearly states it will be about the size of a bottle cap in diameter.
    And I just re-read the article which states that these are quick, third party Renders based on video which is why they appear to be somewhat unrealistic looking.

    apologies from myself for skimming & posting.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 35
    As a Tile user this is what I will be looking for:

    1- White plastic- no go.
    2- No replaceable battery - no go.
    3- No slim tracker for a wallet - no go.

    Me too features are not going to get me to switch from Tile.
    chemengin1mobirdlkrupp
  • Reply 6 of 35
    Without the size, this leak is worthless.  Did anyone think it was going to be a triangle or square?  My expectation and hope is that it will be surprisingly small--think fingernail size rather than half-dollar size.
    Watch the Prosser video. Size is “slightly larger than a bottle cap”.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 35
    nceencee Posts: 856member
    And to think, I sold these to clients years ago, with their company name imprinted on them. Time and Apple will bring them back intoi the limelight.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 35
    XedXed Posts: 1,030member
    willett said:
    Without the size, this leak is worthless.  Did anyone think it was going to be a triangle or square?  My expectation and hope is that it will be surprisingly small--think fingernail size rather than half-dollar size.
    Watch the Prosser video. Size is “slightly larger than a bottle cap”.
    That would put the footprint inline with Trackr, which is the same idea but weren't very good. Presumably Apple's advancements with the Apple H1 and U1 chips would help make that good concept a good product for the first time.

    If there's a small charging coil for inductive charging in there, it could make having to periodically replace batteries very unlikely.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 35
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,754member
    davgreg said:
    As a Tile user this is what I will be looking for:

    1- White plastic- no go.
    2- No replaceable battery - no go.
    3- No slim tracker for a wallet - no go.

    Me too features are not going to get me to switch from Tile.
    No, but it may open the market for the bazillions of potential customers who have no idea what Tile is.
    You may also decide to switch when the Apple users are finding their items when your notifications are eerily silent because of the minimal user base.

    asdasdcornchipspock1234watto_cobrasailorpauljohn.b
  • Reply 10 of 35
    Literally everything I've read said no "iPhone 12" at tomorrows event, except this article that says it's likely?  CONFUSED!
  • Reply 11 of 35
    willett said:
    Without the size, this leak is worthless.  Did anyone think it was going to be a triangle or square?  My expectation and hope is that it will be surprisingly small--think fingernail size rather than half-dollar size.
    Watch the Prosser video. Size is “slightly larger than a bottle cap”.
    I can only take so much of that guy and at quarter of the volume. 
    dewmewatto_cobrajohn.b
  • Reply 12 of 35
    With nothing for attaching this to whatever it is you like to track this design appears not so useful. I think this render is quite far away from the real thing. I hope. 
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Active broadcasting, blah  :/
    Is that really necessary? I get reliable chirp echoes on BT from 3-5 m. How hard can it be to make these passive? All the iPhone needs to do is send a loud but short ping every 2-3 secs.
    edited September 2020
  • Reply 14 of 35
    XedXed Posts: 1,030member
    With nothing for attaching this to whatever it is you like to track this design appears not so useful. I think this render is quite far away from the real thing. I hope. 
    AirPods have no built-in hook for attaching them, but I see a lot of people with 3rd-party cases to do just that. Seems like the same makers will quickly offer cases for a large variety of uses.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 35
    Of course they’re all white. I know we’re dealing with rumors and leaks here, so maybe these aren’t really the final design. I was really hoping for them to be darker though, or at least have options on color. Space Gray, anyone?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 35
    Xed said:
    With nothing for attaching this to whatever it is you like to track this design appears not so useful. I think this render is quite far away from the real thing. I hope. 
    AirPods have no built-in hook for attaching them, but I see a lot of people with 3rd-party cases to do just that. Seems like the same makers will quickly offer cases for a large variety of uses.
    Exactly. I expect the 3rd party accessories market will spring up overnight to take advantage of these. 

    Also, at 9:04 the author said the event will not have the iPhone 12, but at 9:53 he said it was “likely” to be featured. Did something happen in those 49 minutes to change his mind? Or just hedging bets?
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 35
    Japhey said:
    Of course they’re all white. I know we’re dealing with rumors and leaks here, so maybe these aren’t really the final design. I was really hoping for them to be darker though, or at least have options on color. Space Gray, anyone?
    Yes please to Space Gray. I finally buckled down and bought a space gray MacBook Pro and love the finish. That finish with the AirPods would be incredible.
    Japheywatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 35
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,546member
    What is needed is something like AirTag but able to be tracked at very long distance. Example is people can attach to dogs collar and track if runs away. It can also be life saving if person with AiTag is hiking and lost so rescue can track. Though do require very long battery life which able to send location signal for weeks. Keep in little kids pocket to track when vising public places like park,malls,Disney land,etc.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,754member
    wood1208 said:
    What is needed is something like AirTag but able to be tracked at very long distance. Example is people can attach to dogs collar and track if runs away. It can also be life saving if person with AiTag is hiking and lost so rescue can track. Though do require very long battery life which able to send location signal for weeks. Keep in little kids pocket to track when vising public places like park,malls,Disney land,etc.
    Huh?! The whole point of this type of product is to work at long distances. Not by using transmitters that can reach around the globe like shortwave radio, but by relaying the low-power signal around the world using the millions of iOS devices out in the wild.

    randominternetpersoncornchipspock1234watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 20 of 35
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,546member
    mike1 said:
    wood1208 said:
    What is needed is something like AirTag but able to be tracked at very long distance. Example is people can attach to dogs collar and track if runs away. It can also be life saving if person with AiTag is hiking and lost so rescue can track. Though do require very long battery life which able to send location signal for weeks. Keep in little kids pocket to track when vising public places like park,malls,Disney land,etc.
    Huh?! The whole point of this type of product is to work at long distances. Not by using transmitters that can reach around the globe like shortwave radio, but by relaying the low-power signal around the world using the millions of iOS devices out in the wild.


    Like bar code, each Airtag have unique id that when you pair up with iPhone; should be able to track only(not millions IOS devices) that airtag at longer distance like Bluetooth pairing. You can track Apple watch at longer distance.
    spock1234
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