Apple's iPhone 12 event may be missing some accessories

(Image credit: MacRumors)

Apple AirTags have been a long-anticipated accessory for the iPhone, with rumors of an Apple-designed key finder dating back to last year. But at least one prominent Apple leaker thinks you'll be anticipating AirTags for even longer.

That would be Jon Prosser who regularly posts details about Apple's upcoming product announcements. In an early morning tweet today (Oct. 9), Prosser predicted that AirTags won't be part of next Tuesday's iPhone 12 launch, saying that he's been told the trackers are being pushed back to a March 2021 release.

The only reason we were expecting to see AirTags at Apple's Oct. 13 event was because Prosser said earlier that they'd be there. So that's a good sign that AirTags aren't on the agenda after all.

AirTags are circular disks that will pair with your iPhone. You'll attach them to your keys or other valuables and be able to pinpoint the location of that object, similar to how a Tile Pro or one of the other best key finders works. The key difference is that those trackers use Bluetooth. AirTags will reportedly work with the U1 Ultra Wideband chip inside recent iPhones (basically the iPhone 11 or later). That will give AirTags better range and accuracy than Bluetooth-based trackers.

Of course, to compete with the likes of Tile, AirTags would actually have to appear, and there have been rumors about that happening since last fall. It seems like every Apple product launch since then has been hinted at as a potential debut for the AirTags.

Lay the blame for the rumored delay on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In a subsequent tweet, Prosser said he was told AirTags would not appear Tuesday "due to the COVID situation in the Eastern market." Reportedly, AirTags will depend on pinging other iPhones to help you pinpoint the location of a missing item, and people aren't doing much traveling or commuting outside of their homes these days. The suggestion then, is that Apple's holding off on AirTags until more of us are out and about.

AirTags aren't the only product that Prosser thinks won't make an appearance on Tuesday. He also tweeted that AirPods Studio, the wireless headphone Apple is rumored to have in the works, aren't going to show up either. In the case of AirPods Studio, it sounds like the delay is shorter, and that we could still see the headphones at a later Apple event like the one the company may hold soon to show off its Apple Silicon-based laptops.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.