Apple takes on Tile with AR-ready AirTags tracking devices

In a now-rare announcement of a completely new product category, Apple today introduced AirTags, a Tile-like personal location device.

AirTags can be placed in or on personal possessions to be tracked with the Find My app (formerly Find My iPhone) on iPhones, iPads, or Macs. Users can then find those devices, including those detected by any other Apple devices nearby.

The new devices play off Apple’s work in bringing augmented reality features to its devices. Users will be able to lift their phone cameras and see the locations of their AirTags positioned accurately in real physical space on the screen, using the U1 ultra-wide band chip Apple introduced to iPhones somewhat recently. Like some other similar products, AirTags will also be able to emit a noise to make them easier to find.

The small, circular AirTags can be paired with users’ iPhones and iCloud accounts via Bluetooth in much the same way as AirPods. The Find My app will have a new tab called “Items” for following whatever the AirTags are attached to. Users will also receive notifications when they’re separated from their items, which could help them avoid losing their things to begin with.

Apple also made an aggressive pitch on privacy, detailing various features meant to keep the devices to tracking objects instead of people.

Preorders begin this Friday at $29 per AirTag or $99 for a pack of four. Delivery begins April 30.

This story is developing. Check back or follow our liveblog for more details as they are announced.

Listing image by Apple