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Apple AirTags (2021) Release Date, Pricing & Feature News

According to the bevvy of leaks flooding the internet over the past few months, Apple’s rumoured AirTags should be able to help you find your missing stuff. If that sounds familiar, it should – there are plenty of accessories that already offer this functionality, with one of the most popular being Tile.

But while Tile is well known, Apple has the potential to offer huge improvements to the community-based tracking these gadgets rely on – especially with millions of iPhones already in use around the world.

Whatever the AirTags offer, there are enough rumours that we’re pretty sure they’re on the way despite being a no-show at all three of Apple’s autumn 2020 events. Here’s all you need to know about Apple’s AirTags, from release date and pricing rumours to the latest leaked features.

When will Apple AirTags be released?

Apple was expected to launch the AirTags at its October 2020 event, when it launched the iPhone 12 and HomePod mini. Then it was expected to launch them at its November 2020 event, when it launched the new MacBook Air, 13in MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini.

There were also whispers of a quiet December launch, following the leak of an internal Apple memo obtained by MacRumors, but as we now know, it was the AirPods Max that made an appearance.

So, when will the AirTags be released? Unless Apple decides to announce the accessory via a press release in the next few weeks, it’s likely that we’ll get our first proper look at the AirTags at the next Apple event.

It’s unconfirmed when that’ll be right now, but Apple does tend to hold yearly events in March, so that’s the best bet right now, and that’s seemingly backed up by prolific leaker Jon Prosser too.

In fact, he recently reiterated that the AirTags are still on track to launch at the March 2021 event, stating that he “hasn’t heard of any further delays this time”.

Following on from that, Economic Daily News reports that Apple is planning to lift the lid on the AirTags alongside the updated iPad Pro range and a new iPad Mini at an event on 16 March 2021, citing Twitter sources.

There’s also the fact that the latest iOS 14.5 beta has added the “Items” tab to the Find My app, suggesting that iOS 14.5 – due for release soon – could launch around the same time as the long-awaited AirTags.

With all rumours pointing towards a March release, it’s more than likely that Apple will finally unveil the Bluetooth trackers in the coming weeks.

How much will AirTags cost?

There’s currently no word on how much the AirTags will cost when they’re eventually released, but we can look at the competition – after all, if Apple wants to be competitive in a market full of trackers from the likes of Tile, it’ll have to match up in price.

Tile’s most recent Tile Pro costs £29.99 in the UK and $34.99 in the US, so we could be looking at a similar price for the AirTags.

That being said, Apple does have a reputation for developing existing technology and improving it, and it’s entirely possible that the technology inside, and the integration with iOS, could elevate the value of Apple’s tracker above that of the competition. It can’t be too expensive though – after all, these things are designed to be lost.

The Tile Pro is already at the pricy end of the market though – other Bluetooth trackers we’ve reviewed cost even less, so Apple can’t afford to go too high here.

AirTags features and spec rumours

Apple has yet to confirm the existence of AirTags officially, but Apple’s upcoming tracker has been the subject of plenty of leaks – including some from Apple itself.

The exact functionality is still pretty vague at this point, but most rumours suggest that AirTags are a Tile-like device that you attach to valuable items like your keys, and you’re then able to track them via an app if you misplace them.

Apple has the long-established Find My functionality built into pretty much every product it makes, and AirTags allow Apple to expand that to valuable non-Apple items that you might lose track of.

With that being said, it should come as no surprise that keen coders have found code snippets and references to AirTags within the iOS 14 Find My app code, and have even provided a basic idea of how it’ll work: per the code suggestion, you’ll get an alert on your iPhone when you walk too far away from an AirTag and it’ll begin bleeping too – unless you’re at home, where you’ll have to manually toggle the audible alert.

Other rumours suggest you’ll be able to utilise AR to help you find your items. Simply walk around with your iPhone and when you’re near your item, a balloon icon will appear on-screen to indicate exactly where your item is – that’s how it’ll work when you’re in range, anyway.

But what happens if you’ve left your keys on the bus? You’ll be out of range pretty fast, after all. That’s where rumours suggest Apple will utilise other iPhones to find your AirTag. It’s said to work in a similar way to Tile’s current offering, using nearby smartphones to pinpoint the location of your item.

Tile’s offering is limited because it requires users to have the app installed and running in the background, but the assumption is that any iPhone could potentially relay AirTag location data to the owner. It’s not confirmed of course, but it’d be a huge benefit over just about every other tracker on the market right now.

According to Apple leaker Jon Prosser, the AirTags will also work by utilising ultra-wideband tech – also known as UWB – to provide impressively precise location monitoring. The leaker also showcased renders of the upcoming AirTags apparently based on videos of the real tracker that he’d seen.

As seen in the mock-ups, the AirTags are essentially a white disk with a central metal plate on one side, and it’s apparently not much bigger than a bottlecap, although that is hard to verify at this point.

In a more recent video, Prosser showcases leaked video footage which he claims could be used within iOS. The footage appears to be a render, rather than the tracker in the flesh, but Prosser claims that it was created by Apple.

“This comes from a software engineer who believes this may be part of the animation that will show in iOS, similar to how animations happen for AirPods and other accessories” Prosser explains in a recent YouTube video.

The leaker also claims that the delays stem from the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, the AirTags are designed to track your stuff when you’re out and about, and there aren’t many people doing that right now. You can see the full video below:

We’ll update this article with new details as they’re revealed, so check back soon for the latest AirTags news and rumours.

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