New AirTag? Do we really need it? Another highlight of Apple Event?
Apple announced the brand new AirTag on 4.20,2021. Many people may curious about it and want to figure out if they need it.Before we give the answer we should figure out what it is, let’s start from the functions.
The main function of AirTag can be divided into two parts (indoor anti-loss and outdoor anti-loss), achieved by the communication of Bluetooth and UWB technologies, which means rough short-range positioning & accurate short-range precision positioning. Among them, the U1 chip supports accurate positioning of tens of centimeters, which forms the basis of the AirTag (indoor anti-loss) scenario.
According to Apple Event, Apple clearly believes that indoor anti-loss is more important than outdoor anti-loss. Perhaps because of privacy considerations, AirTag does not have a integratation GPS chip. Even so, it can rely on the vast iPhone users to fill in the shortcomings of outdoor positioning: as long as there are walking iPhone users, they can report the information of lost item. Reversed from this concept, we can guess the usage principles of AirTag.
*Normal mode: When the iPhone and AirTag stay in a certain range, AirTag intermittently communicates with the iPhone via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). BLE can roughly measure the distance to the iPhone by signal strength, and if it exceeds a certain distance or time, it’s judged as a lost mode.
*Lost Mode: When AirTag can't find the iPhone for a long time, it will broadcast itself to the surroundings intermittently. If the broadcast signal is received by the other iPhones, it will be uploaded to the searching network by the iPhone with it's current location information. If an iPhone receives a lost AirTag broadcast like this for a long time, it will respond back to AirTag and trigger AirTag's own voice reminder. This is AirTag 's anti-tracking method in anti-loss mode.
However, in the normal mode (within the Bluetooth communication distance), it's usually an indoor scenario. As for now, the UWB tag is mainly used in AirTag to receive and feedback UWB signals, thereby assisting the iPhone U1 chip to achieve centimeter-level positioning.
This should be the main function and implementation principles of AirTag and they are not complicated. According to the promotional video presented by Apple, currently there is no traditional Bluetooth anti-lost module (over distance alarm) function between AirTag and the mobile phone. The product group may think that in close range, UWB ranging can replace reminders. And to be honest those functions still have some practicabilities.
In general, if we talk about the scenarios further according to the above functions, there is a great market demand for indoor and outdoor anti-lost. For example, finding a car at an underground parking lot (about 10-100 meters), looking for keys indoors, and looking for children at a local playground ( put AirTag on your children before going out), finding a dog(put AirTag on your dog before going out).
Write at the end, AirTag might be a good option for those who are easy to lose things and spend a lot of time to search lost things in daily life. Plus, those stylish leather pieces from Hermès make it more desireble.