As shared in a research note, TF Securities Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple system-in-package partners to ramp up production of the ultra-wide band ‘AirTags’ in the second or third quarter of this year.

Kuo says that the supply chain will be producing tens of millions of units by the end of the year. Although not said explicitly, it suggests that Apple’s Tile-like trackers (referenced in code as ‘AirTags’) will be released this year.

Assuming a fall release date given the reported production ramp, it is possible that AirTags are part of the fall September iPhone event.

However, as AirTags are a wholly new product category for Apple, there is also the possibility that the company announces the product earlier, perhaps at WWDC.

The Apple tracker tags will allow customers to locate real-world objects — like keys or suitcases — in the Find My app. The tags will use the Offline Finding capabilities introduced in the core of iOS 13 to allow anyone’s device to be able to detect the tracker signal, anonymously.

This means the worldwide network of iPhones, iPads and Macs will be able to be on the lookout for the Apple AirTag beacons. When a signal is found, the Find My app can automatically notify the true owner of the tag’s location. When in proximity, the user will be able to locate via Bluetooth. If the owner has an iPhone equipped with the U1 chip, like the latest iPhone 11 series, then they will also be able to precisely see the location of the item in an augmented reality view.

The existence of Apple Tags was first reported by 9to5Mac in April 2019.

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About the Author

Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.