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Apple (AAPL) has finally revealed its long-anticipated AirTag tracking devices. The gadgets, which wirelessly connect to your iPhone, are meant to be physically attached to items like keys, purses, or wallets so you can easily find them if you lose them.
The AirTags, which will be available for $29 on April 30, communicate with your iPhone via its built-in U1 ultra-wideband chip and the FindMy network to let you know where they are in the real world via your phone's FindMy app. The app will provide you with on-screen directions including your distance to your lost item. You can also tap a button in the app to make the tracker play a sound to home in on your item.
If you've got a few items you want to track, Apple will sell a four-pack for $99.
Apple emphasized that the new AirTag keeps location data private and secure, saying it does not store location data or location history inside the AirTag. "AirTag is also designed with a set of proactive features that discourage unwanted tracking, an industry first," the company said in a product announcement.
AirTags are similar to trackers produced by Tile, which sells its own devices for $39 for a pack of two small trackers or $59 for a pair of larger, more robust trackers. Tile has an acrimonious relationship with Apple and has accused the company of anticompetitive practices due to its app location requirements.
Tile objects to Apple's decision to add location tracking requests to its iOS operating system. The requests serve customers with repeated prompts asking if they'd like their Tile trackers to access their location information, a crucial element to ensuring the tracker works properly. Tile, meanwhile, had learned that Apple was working on its own tags, and said that the Phone maker's products won't constantly ping users for approval to access their locations — giving Apple a major benefit versus Tile.
As a result, Tile filed a letter complaining about Apple's antitrust practices with the European Union's European Commission, and testified before Congress about Apple's business practices. Company representatives are also expected to appear before Congress on Wednesday during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights where it will join Match Group (MTCH) and Spotify (SPOT), which have also lodged antitrust complaints against both Apple and Google.
Representatives from Apple and Google will also be on hand for the hearing.
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