We know Apple’s AirTags must surely exist, because credible rumors and leaks about them have been trickling into our news feeds for what seems like forever. The latest rumor, however, provides a glimmer of hope that we might see these things in our lifetime.
According to TechCrunch, Apple launched a new Find My Certification app over the weekend. The app lets third-party device or accessory makers test how their products work with the Find My app. This comes on the heels of the iOS 14.5 beta enabling an “items” tab in the app, and leaked renders showing a dollar coin-sized device that purportedly costs $39. Finding code within an iOS beta and renders are pretty good clues on their own that a company is working on something—but that doesn’t mean those features or products will ever see the light of day. Perhaps a dev forgot to erase something, and internal renders can look drastically different from the final product.
A more reliable indicator is when companies start opening things up to third parties. That generally means whatever’s in development is close to being finished, and it’s time for third-party accessory makers to get cracking. According to TechCrunch’s app screenshots, you can test things like connectivity, sound, firmware, key management, NFC, and power.
Technically speaking, Apple said it was going to add third-party Find My support at WWDC 2020. Much of this likely stems from Tile’s longstanding beef with Apple, in which the company alleged Apple was acting like a gatekeeper to favor its own interests. (In this case, the yet-to-be-seen AirTags.) Earlier in January, there were reports that Tile was also working on new ultra-wideband-compatible trackers. That’s major, as Apple has been quietly sneaking its U1 UWB chip in several of its newest products, including the Apple Watch Series 6 and the HomePod Mini. Why do all this if the Find My network wasn’t going to be showing up in the relatively near future?
But when?? When will we see these things?! We know they exist and that they’re close to being done because all the evidence points in that direction. It was nearly a year ago that Apple…