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  • Apple could finally launch 'AirTags' in October

    dewme said:
    It's obviously not intended for security or theft protection because the tag could be easily removed.
    Not if it is hidden in the vehicle.  People already use Tiles for this very purpose, but they don't work that well because there are relatively few people running the Tile app on their phones, so you rarely get a "hit" even if you're tracking the Tile in an urban area.

    The Airtag will be a Tile on steroids, pinging every iPhone within range through the "Find My" framework.  It'll be nearly as effective as a GPS tracker, but without subscription fees, cellular access, or a battery that needs recharging every two weeks.

    Once people get an idea what Airtags are capable of, I expect that they'll be hidden in just about any object that is worth protecting.  I further expect that the functionality of an Airtag will eventually be incorporated into the electronics of trucks, automobiles, motorcycles, etc.  Sure, you could rip out the electronics of a car and render it untrackable (and non-functional), but that isn't something that a car thief is going to do if he wants a working vehicle.  You can also expect a lot of companies to sell products to assist you in securely hiding an Airtag on / in a vehicle.  

    Where I live, we have an ongoing epidemic of gang members stealing cars, driving them while committing more crimes, then abandoning each vehicle for another stolen car.  Airtags are going to upend that cycle.  When your average car owner is able to immediately share the latest location update of his or her stolen vehicle with the police, it's going to be a whole lot tougher for the criminals to move around the city.

    I always assumed that Amazon would do this first, by tying in some sort of tracker with their Ring doorbell system.  But despite rumors of a Ring tracker, it has never happened.  Now Apple is going to dominate this market, thanks to the popularity of the iPhone.
  • Apple's AirTag helps you keep track of your things for $29 each, $99 in a four-pack

    sflocal said:
    Stalkers abusing this is a valid concern.  I'm hoping to see what the real-world issues are when it comes out.  I live in San Francisco and garage break-in's are common here.  AirTags would be perfect for tagging some of my high-priced items in case of theft.  To think that a stranger's iPhone would get a prompt of an unknown AirTag would seem to me like message overkill has me thinking there's a practical solution to prevent stalking, yet give victims of theft a useful and accurate location for the police.
    It all depends on how long the user has to be in the vicinity of the AirTag in order for it to send an alert.  Being around the AirTag for a few hours shouldn't trigger it; otherwise you'd get alerts just by being near coworkers or friends every day, which would be overkill.  If there is (for example) a 72-hour delay before the AirTag starts to alert nearby users, then that's all the time I need to locate my stolen property and report it to the police.  The devil is always in the details.

    If a stalker wants to track you, they'll have much better (and more anonymous) tools to do it with than an AirTag.  Apple is trying to head off any criticism about potential abuse,  but this technology is eventually going to be embedded into a lot more than Apple products.
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  • Stolen Quanta documents show MacBook Pro with SD card slot, MagSafe

    If authentic, these documents show something very important - a return to function over form in the MacBook line.  If REvil thinks releasing these documents hurts Apple, I think it's quite the opposite.  The ones to be hurt will be Quanta.
  • Apple refining AirTag privacy, Android anti-stalking app coming soon

    mike1 said:

    That seems problematic. So, the tag in my suitcase that is stored in a closet could start to play an alert if I am away for as little as 8 hours?! That would be every single work day. My wife will hit me over the head with the suitcase after she tracks down the annoying sound and I get home from work.
    It does seem that Apple is already jumping the shark with the AirTag.  This 8 to 24 hour window won't enhance the AirTag, it will simply make it extremely annoying.  Imagine leaving an AirTag on a set of keys while you go on a business trip, and having it drive your family crazy beeping away because you failed to take it with you.

    The irony is that it was the Washington Post that published an extremely damning article on how the AirTag would be used by stalkers - the same Washington Post owned by Jeff Bezos, whose own Amazon Sidewalk mesh network is going online next week.  I would bet any amount of money that the Post won't be publishing any stories on how Sidewalk-enabled devices will be abused by stalkers.
  • New York State Senate passes right to repair legislation

    WTH said:
    Beats said:

    Apple can at least take the blame if they fu** up. I’ve had Apple employees just hand me a refurbished device no questions asked when I’ve dropped my devices and broken them. Great customer service and no bashing original Apple products to promote some spyware cheap knockoff. 
    Last month I took my iPhone to the Genius Bar to replace a dying battery.  In the process of replacing the battery, the tech damaged the logic board.

    I walked out of the Apple Store with a brand new iPhone for the price of a battery replacement.  A third-party repair shop could never do that.
    Another ridiculous fucking statement, absolute drivel. JFC a course in logic is definitely needed around here.
    I often have to wonder if the people who post in these forums just sit around trying to think of ways they can get angry at what someone has said.

    Allow me to clarify:  if I walk into a third party repair shop, I can just about guarantee that if they destroy my iPhone in the course of a repair, that they are not going to hand me a brand new Apple product on the spot as compensation.  What they will do is apologize and comp the repair, or try to obtain a refurbished unit (which may take a few days), or order more parts to fix it (which again may take a few days).  But they will not give me a brand new iPhone so that I can leave in less than an hour as a happy customer.

    You think I need a course a logic?  You should try one in anger management.
  • Apple's AirTag helps you keep track of your things for $29 each, $99 in a four-pack

    Okay, here is more detail about the privacy protection features from the Apple website:

    AirTag is also designed with a set of proactive features that discourage unwanted tracking, an industry first. Bluetooth signal identifiers transmitted by AirTag rotate frequently to prevent unwanted location tracking. iOS devices can also detect an AirTag that isn’t with its owner, and notify the user if an unknown AirTag is seen to be traveling with them from place to place over time. And even if users don’t have an iOS device, an AirTag separated from its owner for an extended period of time will play a sound when moved to draw attention to it. If a user detects an unknown AirTag, they can tap it with their iPhone or NFC-capable device and instructions will guide them to disable the unknown AirTag.

    So you'll have only a limited amount of time before the AirTag audibly alerts the thief and allows him to disable it.  That is definitely going to cripple it as an anti-theft gadget.  Hopefully, there will still be companies like Tile that will be able to sell people a more useful device.

  • Tile CEO 'welcomes' AirTag competition from Apple's 'runaway monopoly train'

    The CEO should stop whining and get to work on Tile's next big product:  an anti-theft tracker that uses the Find My network.  Apple has deliberately designed the AirTag to prevent it from being used for that purpose.  Tile could own the anti-theft tracker market if they'd roll up their sleeves and stop complaining to the press.
  • Apple refining AirTag privacy, Android anti-stalking app coming soon

    fastasleep said:

    Are you both forgetting that your devices know where your home is, assuming you've set up your own contact card properly? Do you not ever use geofencing like "Hey Siri, remind me when I get home to feed the cat"? You and your devices have relevant location data which mitigates your manufactured problem here.
    Okay, then how about an example where you loan a friend some item, or leave it at work, or at a family member's house, or some place that you haven't geofenced?  My manufactured problem is no less relevant than your manufactured solution.  Do you really think the average Apple user geofences everything he or she owns?

    The real problem is this - it is impossible for Apple to separate the intended function of the AirTag from situations where it could be abused.  As many have pointed out, even 8 hours is more than enough time for a stalker to locate you.  A tracking device is a tracking device - you can't make it a "good" tracking device without making it useless.  It's like trying to make a knife that will cut food but somehow can't be used to cut other things.  The only way is to dull the blade to the point where it can't cut anything.

    Apple is headed down the path of making the AirTag useless because it will wind up constantly annoying its users.  And I expect that Sidewalk-enabled Tile trackers will never get one paragraph of mention in a Washington Post article.