Meet the AirTag: Apple’s Solution If You Have a Knack for Losing Things

Chisomo Gomonda
Staff Writer

If you have ever misplaced a set of car keys, a bag, or even a remote control then you can understand what a pain it can be to look for them. They all share a similarity in being small and often end up in hard-to-reach places. Even worse, in terms of a bag or car keys, they may be misplaced in locations other than where you would think to look for them. If you misplaced them somewhere other than home, school, the office or on the bus, this could make it even more difficult to find them. If you can relate to the frustration of ever having lost any of your belongings, then you might be in luck. This is because Apple recently announced the launch of the AirTag, a small and sleek device designed to help you keep track of your belongings. The AirTag, which is a much-anticipated addition to Apple’s range of accessories, was unveiled on April 20 during Apple’s “Spring loaded” event.

Airtags can be attached to keys, wallets, bags, or just about anything. (Photo courtesy of Tech Science)

The AirTag is a round, stainless steel device that can be attached to and used to keep track of a variety of items including backpacks, keys, wallets, and laptops. The device, which is equipped with Apple’s ultra-wide band U1 chip, sends out a precise signal that can be detected using the extensive Find My network. This makes it possible to easily locate the AirTag -and a user’s misplaced or lost item attached to it- using the Find My app on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Furthermore, the AirTag is powered by a replaceable battery while maintaining its water and dust resistant features. An additional positive is that the AirTag can be personalized with free engraving of a user’s choice of text and emojis upon purchase from Apple’s website. The powerful location device is being sold for $29 for a one-pack and $99 for a pack of four, which is helpful for users that want to keep track of multiple items.

With the AirTag being a powerful and effective locator, some concerns may be raised about whether it could possibly be used for nefarious purposes, such as, whether a person can slip one into someone’s bag and keep track of them or whether someone can hack the Find My network to track a person’s location. Fortunately, Apple considered these scenarios and included safety features to protect against them. Firstly, the AirTag uses end-to-end encryption when sending signals so that the location of the AirTag, as well as its owners iPhone, are kept private on the Find My network. Secondly, if an unknown AirTag has been following someone continuously, their iPhone will alert them about the unknown device and allow them to disable it. This alert is only sent if the AirTag is separated from its owner, which ensures that it does not mistakenly alert someone who is traveling with an acquaintance that has an AirTag. In all, though the AirTag is not the first device of its kind, it ushers in a new age with its precision tracking capabilities and it will be interesting to see if this becomes one of Apple’s signature accessories.

 

Contact Chisomo at gomondch@shu.edu.

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