Apple has yet to announce it is launching Tile-like trackers, rumoured to be called AirTags, but they’ve repeatedly leaked over the past year. Most recently, details about them appeared in USPTO patent applications.
Filed a year ago, the applications were recently spotted by Patently Apple after going public in October 2020. In addition to letting you find lost items, Apple has imagined ways AirTags can display information on your phone and even help measure the curve of your spine. Currently, it’s thought that Apple’s AirTags will let you keep track of your stuff, so this is the first time we’ve heard about other potential use-cases.
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The filings are for a “mounting base for a wirelessly locatable tag” and a “fastener with a constrained retention ring“. They include diagrams that show how Apple trackers can be embedded in keys or an Apple Watch strap and be used to control an on-screen avatar. One diagram also showed they can be affixed in a building, to display information on your phone like a map whenever it detects you’re close.
The trackers seem to be small and easily attach to “keys, purses, or wallets, to help an owner find lost, misplaced, or stolen objects”. When you need to find something they’re attached to, Apple described how ultra-wideband tech will allow your phone to locate them within a couple feet. The trackers can also produce audible sounds and haptic outputs to help you find them.
For more about AirTags, check our rumour roundup.