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Apple AirTags release date, price, news and leaks

Apple AirTags release date, price, news and leaks
(Image credit: MacRumors)

It's time to see if there's anything to all these AirTag rumors we've been hearing about for more than a year. Apple's holding an April 20 event, and the Apple-built key finders are expected to make their debut then, alongside new iPads and Apple TV models.

Then again, if you've been following the AirTags saga, you've gotten used to the idea of a teased release for Apple's rumored key finder only for the AirTags to be a no-show. Apple held three events in the fall of 2020, without AirTags appearing as rumored at either one. 

We think the just-announced April 20 event will be different. And that means it's time to take a closer look at what AirTags supposedly offer and how they'll differ from the many other key finders that are out there.

Here's what we're hearing about Apple's long-anticipated AirTags.

Apple AirTags latest news (Updated April 13)

  • Apple has announced an April 20 event for 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT. We should get a glimpse of the AirTags then.

Apple AirTags: How they'll work

Apple's looking to challenge the Tile Pro to make the best key finder on the market, and it has a good chance if it works seamlessly with the company's ecosystem of devices.

Like other key finders, AirTags will attach to objects you want to keep track of, whether it's keys, computers, wallets and purses or something else valuable. The tracker then connects to your phone, so that you can find the location of any misplaced or missing items.

(Image credit: Front Page Tech)

There's a key difference between current key finders and the AirTags Apple reportedly has in development. Most key finders connect to your phone via Bluetooth. But AirTags are rumored to be using the U1 Ultra Wideband sensor Apple added to 2019's iPhone 11 models and that are included in subsequent releases like last fall's iPhone 12. That would give the AirTags better range and more accurate location tracking than conventional key finders.

It's widely assumed that AirTags will work with Find My, a built-in app on the iPhone that already lets you locate friends and Apple products, based on their location information. That seems an even better bet since the iOS 14.5 beta became available, as references to the ability to track items like keys and luggage have begun to surface in the Find My app.

iOS 14.5 beta Find May AirTags

(Image credit: @IceCoolTech)

A report from Josh Constine revealed more on how AirTags might work. While much of that report focused on a new augmented reality app called Gobi, apparently the AR capabilities will extend to the Find My app. Code shown to Constine indicates that you'll be able to hold up your iPhone and scan a room for AirTag-connected objects; you'll then get audio and haptic feedback based on your proximity to the thing you’re looking for.

Apple AirTags price

According to leaker Max Weinbach, Apple AirTags are going to cost $39 each when they launch. Whenever that day may be. That's a lot for a single tracker, but it's still within the $50 range other key trackers tend to sell for.

For what it's worth, Apple rival Samsung has released a key finder of its own called Galaxy SmartTag. And while the Bluetooth version of that key tracker costs $30, the SmartTag Plus that will use ultra wideband connectivity, is expected to sell for a similar $40 price tag.

That said, we don't know how many features Apple plans to pack into its AirTags. Factors like a far range, distinct alarm sound, accurate alerts and flawless iOS integration could add value to AirTags. 

Apple AirTags release date

Try to follow along here because it's been a long, winding road to the AirTags release. The first hint about Apple-made key finders dropped right before the iPhone 11 launch more than a year-and-a-half ago. Right before subsequent Apple events, rumors about the AirTags would pop up, but product events in 2020 came and went without an AirTags appearance.

Now we're in the spring of 2021, waiting for an Apple event where AirTags would join the other new releases Apple is planning. Some rumor mongers had told us to expect such an event on March 23. That didn't happen, but now we have a set date directly from Apple. Get ready for an online event on April 20, starting at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT.

Apple Event April 20

(Image credit: Apple)

That's no guarantee that the AirTags will debut at that time, of course. But if another Apple event comes and goes without any Apple-built key trackers, maybe it's time to assume they're never arriving.

Apple AirTags video

As for proof that AirTags are on the way, an Apple video titled "How to erase your iPhone" (which has been removed after its original posting) refers to AirTags by name for just 2 seconds, yet Appleosophy spotted it around the 1:40 mark within the Find My iPhone settings. 

Beneath Enable Offline Finding, the onscreen device reads "Offline finding enables this device and AirTags to be found when not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular."

According to another video from Front Page Tech's Jon Prosser, Apple AirTags are circular and "just a tad larger than a bottle cap." The product features a clean white front and polished metal back with Apple's logo. 

Apple AirTags outlook

It's clear Apple has something in the works that will help iPhone users keep tabs on valuable items. It's just unclear when that product debuts.

For now, we'll count down the days to Apple's April 20 event, which is when we should finally put these long-swirling AirTag rumors to bed.