Apple has been rumored to be launching a Tile-like item tracker for months now, and it appears the device could be named AirTag. 9to5Mac has spotted references to AirTag within the iOS 13.2 update that shipped to devices today, hinting that this Tile-like device may even appear very soon.
References to Apple’s potential location tracking tags first appeared in early iOS 13 beta code, and rumors suggested Apple would introduce the devices alongside the iPhone 11 at last month’s event. That Apple event came and went without a mention of AirTag or any Tile-like features, but the hints in iOS 13.2 could mean Apple might be ready to unveil its tag hardware and features.
Apple surprised everyone with AirPods Pro earlier today, after rumors suggested these new noise-canceling headphones would appear at the end of October. Apple could pull a similar surprise for AirTag, or whatever the company is planning to call this device. 9to5Mac notes that the AirTag references in iOS 13.2 simply include placeholder images of AirPods, but that Apple can update these images remotely.
Either way, if Apple does introduce an AirTag accessory then it will clearly be competing directly with Tile. The location tracking company has attempted to embed its technology directly into Bluetooth chips recently, in an effort to move beyond just the tags. Tile has teamed up with Qualcomm, Dialog Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, and Toshiba to include Tile compatibility as an option on future chipsets. Tile has also previously partnered with Boosted and Bose to embed its location tracking network into the companies’ gadgets.