Opinion: What’s Apple’s first-party strategy for Find My accessories? – 9to5Mac


Now that Apple’s Find My program has officially launched with a range of third-party accessories, we’re left wondering what Apple’s own plans are for first-party products. AirTags have been rumored for years now, but Apple has just announced a licensed Chipolo tracker. Another accessory introduced today is a pair of black wireless earbuds from Belkin with built-in Find My tech. These obviously compete with AirPods. So what does the future hold for AirPods and AirTags?

The Chipolo ONE Spot is almost exactly what we expected out of AirTags, aside from the premium design and rumored AR features. You can attach it to any item and track it with the Find My app. Obvious use cases include tracking keys, luggage, backpacks, or even a collar on a pet.

Chipolo isn’t launching this new tracker until June, so it really begs the question, “Where are AirTags?” AirTags have always been rumored to be much more advanced than other trackers. They supposedly include AR features that make it easy to see exactly where an item is in the real world through your phone’s camera.

AirTags have been floating around the rumor mill for almost two years now, and it’s easy to assume that they are no longer in the pipeline with Apple promoting these new Chipolo trackers. It’s more likely, though, that AirTags are still on the way but just not quite ready. If they really do have a serious focus on AR, they may be holding off to share them alongside new APIs at WWDC or even alongside glasses. They may basically act as targets for glasses. We’ll just have to wait and see. We know they are a real product that Apple has been working on, it’s just a matter of when we’ll see them.

A very obvious place for Find My tech to live is in headphones. I would’ve expected Apple to introduce new AirPods with this tech built in before they promoted third-party earbuds. But nevertheless, Belkin gets to be the star of the show for now. Belkin’s Find My compatible earbuds are called the Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds. They look like a ton of other AirPods knockoffs. Their main differentiator is that they are black instead of white. They charge over USB-C or with Qi, have 36 hours of battery life, and are splash resistant. They also only cost $99 compared to the $159 that AirPods start at. They’re a really good value. So it’s surprising that they’d promote them ahead of next-generation AirPods.

I think there’s very little doubt that the next generation of AirPods and AirPods Pro will work with Find My. Current-generation AirPods and AirPods Pro show up as devices in Find My but they aren’t actually trackable. Compatibility with the new Find My network is such an obvious addition to AirPods and could easily make the case to consumers that they should upgrade. New AirPods are expected at some point this year, so it’s very possible we’ll get Find My compatible ones really soon.

AirPods Max will hopefully get compatibility with Find My in the future as well, but the product is so new I can’t see it happening anytime soon. I could see Apple introducing a new AirPods Max smart case with Find My built in, but new standalone headphones are unlikely for the foreseeable future.

What do you think Apple’s plans are for AirTags and AirPods in regards to the new Find My network? Let us know in the comments below.

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