Apple AirTag Overview

Not a perfect Apple product, mind you. AirTag has room to grow. But it really encapsulates some critical features of Apple's product design philosophy for both good and ill.

Apple has often excelled at purpose-constructed products. Think of Apple's varied "pod" products through the years: iPod, HomePod, AirPods. All glorious products built towards singular purposes (even if the HomePod has now been discontinued, I still contend that it's a wonderful speaker, just as Apple designed it to be).

AirTags are just such a product. Apple designed these little trackers to do one kind of thing: assist you to discover your lost stuff. They usually try this well! Very well, in fact. There are just some design choices that I question and ultimately hope Apple finds a way to address.

At $29, the AirTag price is right. A little more costly than its Tile Mate or Chipolo One competitors and a little less costly than the Tile Pro, AirTags are priced more competitively than I believe many (myself included) feared.

You could find AirTags on-line, and they are now available in Apple Stores, as well as third-party retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. While delivery dates have already slipped into early Might, I anticipate that Apple will be able to keep up with demand for this particular product. If you want to get your AirTags engraved, it is best to count on some shipping delay from Apple.

If I had to pick one phrase to summarize Apple's approach to the AirTag's design, it could be "unobtrusive, but not invisible." One thing that's clear in everything from the software to the accessories to the precise AirTag itself is that this is a device that is meant to be seen, even when only for a second. Perhaps smartly, Apple isn't positioning AirTag as an anti-theft device however as a loss prevention/recovery one.

Unsurprisingly, the AirTag itself is fairly easy, with the white shell of the tracker utterly unadorned save for any engraving you've accomplished during the ordering process (side note: Apple, is there a particular reason why sure frequent, helpful emoji, like keys, aren't available for AirTag engraving?). On the flip side, the stainless metal battery cover is etched with writing, letting you know that this is certainly an AirTag, makes use of Bluetooth LE and Ultra Wideband, and that it's assembled in China. All of this writing surrounds the matte etched Apple emblem in the center of the cover.

Now, on a certain level, of course it doesn't. Is Apple really going to put a hole at a single level of their perfect little circle? No, clearly not (additionally, now you need to buy an accessory, perhaps from Apple). Alternatively, it creates a notable issue for one of the primary uses of an item tracker, and that is keeping track of your keys!

Because if you are going to put an AirTag in a bag or purse, then you definately're fine just picking up an AirTag. But if you wish to put these in your keys, which I've to stress, is going to be the reason some people consider picking an AirTag up, you additionally need to get some kind of carrying accessory that attaches your AirTag to your keys.

That aside, I actually like the design of the AirTag, as much or more than different trackers, at the least as an object. It's like a slightly over-giant go tile. Plus, the battery compartment is easy to open and close, making removing an old battery and replacing it with a new one very simple.

The AirTag has strong hardware, I think Apple may've performed more to broaden its capabilities. Is this a dealbreaker for you? It is not for me. After I think of the drawbacks introduced by the lack of a keyring hole versus the potential tracking power of the Discover My network, after which I think about the comparatively limited networks of competing products, I think it's worth the trade-off, and thus, having to make another purchase to connect AirTags to my keys.

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