Apple Will Launch Ultra-Wideband Equipped AirTag Before the End of This Year
Apple is planning to launch its ultra-wideband based location tracking tags called "AirTag", by the third quarter of 2020, as per a new note by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. AirTag was previously expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2020, but the launch did not take place.
Universal Scientific Industrial, a manufacturing company in Shanghai, China, will be providing the system-in-package for the tags. This will be the circuit board which will contain Apple's ultra-wideband chip called U1. This chip is also used in iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, and allows users to share files via AirDrop by simply pointing their smartphones at each other.
Previously, Ming-Chi Kuo had predicted that Apple would launch AirTag in the first half of 2020, but as per this new note, the system-in-package circuit boards will ship between second to third quarter of 2020. This pushes the actual launch date a few months ahead, which means that Apple could launch them alongside iPhone 12 in September 2020.
Although the functionality of the ultra-wideband chip in iPhone 11 is limited, it has the potential to open new types of applications and experiences. With AirTag, the U1 chip will allow finding tagged objects within the accuracy of a few centimeters. This functionality will be similar to how Tile tracking tags work, but it will be far more accurate due to ultra-wideband technology. Another use for AirTag would be for augmented reality as it would allow accurate measurements in 3D spaces.
Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in his note:
"We believe that the ultra-wideband (UWB) tag will enhance the user experience of iOS's 'find' and augment reality (AR) applications by offering measurement functions in the short distance"
AirTag was all but confirmed through iOS 13.2 update. An internal items tab in iOS 13.2 "Find My" app revealed AirTag's setup process and how it will work with iPhone. AirTag pairing process will be similar to how AirPods pair with iPhone. If Apple does not announce AirTag until iPhone 12 launch in September, it will mark one year of iPhone 11's U1 chip's underutilization.
Apple's 2020 is all set to be a busy year. iPhone SE 2 is rumored to be launching in March, followed by a new iPad Pro update. A wireless charging mat, over-ear high-end headphones, and 13-inch MacBook Pro are also expected to launch in the coming months.