After the Apple Event last week, keen followers of the leaks surrounding it would have had one big question: Where’s the Apple key finder that had been rumored for some time now? Fortunately, the tracking system has itself been tracked down again, giving us additional insight into how Apple’s system will work.
Screenshots obtained by MacRumors have shown that the key finder, or ‘Apple Tags’ as they’re now revealed to be named, is still alive and well, and is likely close to making its first public appearance.
The Tags work via a revamped Find My app, which contains an ‘Items’ tab along with the People and Devices sections already present. As you can see in the images, the app prompts you to tag your stuff with ‘B389’, apparently the internal codename for the Tags.
If you need to find an item, you can make the tag start ringing, but the Find My app will also warn you if you stray too far from a tag, let you define Safe Zones where you can leave items without the app automatically warning you, share the location of a tag with your contacts, or place a tag into Lost Mode, which will let other iPhone users find it and give them your contact details so they can return it and the item to you.
There’s a potential AR element too, based on the presence of some 2D and 3D balloon models and some associated text strings. The text prompts you to scan the room with your iPhone, and then see where the balloon appears. This could be Apple’s endearing way of identifying where your Tag is located, rather than just a simple radar/map arrangement.
A previous leak from MacRumors has given us an idea of how the Tags look. Although the site stresses that the image, found in an internal iOS 13 build, may be a placeholder or be different from the final product, it gives a reasonable-looking option idea of a simple circular design with the Apple logo in the middle.
The newly launched iPhone 11 makes use of Apple’s U1 ultra wideband chips, designed to give the phones a kind of spatial recognition. These could work together with the Tags in interesting ways, such as how AirDrop can now be aimed by pointing the sending iPhone at the receiving iPhone. The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max also have a U1 chip.
We’re now expecting the Tag to make its debut at Apple’s October event, after which it will become a major competitor to Tile’s line of products. With Apple’s dedicated user base and engineering might, the two will likely end up as fierce competitors.