Apple finally introduces AirTag item trackers, along with a purple iPhone 12

Apple AirTag attached to multiple accessories and featuring different engravings

During its Spring Loaded event today, Apple announced the long-rumored AirTag accessory, an item tracker that can be attached to any of your objects so you can find it easily with the Find My app on your iPhone.

The AirTag communicates with the U1 chip on iPhones, using UWB technology to precisely detect the location of the item in combination with sensors like the compass and the camera. It also comes with a built-in speaker that emits sound to make it easier to find, and it has an IP67 water and dust resistance rating, so it should be good enough to carry around.

An iPhine displaying a notification from the Find My app saying an AirTag was located by someone els

Similar to Samsung's SmartTags, AirTags can leverage the Find My network - which Apple says comprises almost one billion devices - to locate a lost item even if it's out Bluetooth range. The AirTag will ping other devices on the network and relay the location back to the owner. Users can also put an AirTag into Lost Mode to be notified whenever the object is in range of their iPhone or is detected by someone else in the Find My network. If someone finds a lost AirTag, they can also tap an NFC compatible device on it to find contact information for the owner, if they have provided it, so they can return it.

There are also a number of security and privacy features on board. The Bluetooth signal identifier of the AirTag changes frequently so its location can't easily be tracked. iPhone users will also be notified if an unknown AirTag is consistently moving along with them, which could mean someone else was using it to track them.

AirTags can be customized with text and one of 31 different emoji engravings, similar to what you can optionally get on the AirPods case. You can also get them in pendants and other fashion-focused accessories for a more personalized look. That includes a partnership with Hermes for some leather attachments for the AirTag.

AirTags will be available for pre-order this Friday for $29 each, or you can get a 4-pack for $99. It will be available on April 30.

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini in purple

Apple also announced a new purple color variant for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. Of course, it features the same Apple A14 chipset and all the same specs as the existing models. The new color joins the current lineup and will go up for pre-order this Friday, and it's also shipping on April 30, one week later. As a reminder, the iPhone 12 mini starts at $699, and the regular iPhone 12 starts at $799.

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