Last week (20th April) Apple held one of their regular online events, detailing all of the new hardware and software on the horizon. There were a number of exciting - and colourful - announcements during the livestream , but 2 in particular caught our attention: the long-awaited release of ‘Airtags’ and a surprise new colour for the iPhone 12 & 12 mini. Let’s take a closer look!
That Apple was making a small tracking device has been an open secret for years - the only question was when it would finally be released into the wild. Well last week the ‘Airtags’ were finally unveiled - small metal disc that can be placed in or attached to your belongings, and will act as a tracking beacon should you lose them. These Airtags will be available this Friday (April 30th), priced at £29 each, or £99 for 4.
An individual Airtag is small - only slightly bigger than a £2 coin - and contains a bluetooth module and a small speaker. The idea is very simple - you can pair the Airtag with your phone to activate the bluetooth module, then attach it to your keys or slip it into a bag. If you misplace your belongings, the ‘Find My’ app will use your phone’s bluetooth module to detect the Airtag, and can trigger a ‘Ping’ noise from the disc - allowing you to easily find it if nearby.
Diameter: 32mm x 32mm
Protection: IP67 (Waterproof for 1 meter up to 30 mins)
What about if the Airtag is outside of your phone’s bluetooth range? Say you leave your bag on the train, and need to track it down. In such cases, Apple will use the ‘Find My network’ - the combined power of millions of Apple devices on the planet. It effectively uses any active iPhone or iPad to passively search for Airtag signals nearby. If it finds them, it anonymously and securely transmits the locational data to the relevant device. This system is automatic and invisible - you won’t know your phone is finding other people’s lost property, and it’ll have no impact on the battery life or performance of your phone.
Using the ‘Find My network’, as long as there is someone with an Apple device somewhere close to your Airtag, you’ll be able to locate it. Given the popularity of Apple’s phones, you’d have to leave your keys somewhere pretty remote to completely lose them!
As you’d expect, Apple is keen to stress the security built into the Airtags. There are measures in place to prevent unwanted tracking, such as frequently changing bluetooth identifiers. The data from the ‘Find My network’ is totally anonymous & secure - it uses end-to-end encryption to stop anyone finding the location of your items, even Apple themselves. Finally, in keeping with Apple’s push towards sustainable practices, the Airtags will make use of recycled tin and reclaimed wood for the construction and packaging.
If the Airtags seem like an interesting idea, you’ll be able to order them directly from Apple on Friday. You’ll need an up-to-date iPhone or iPad to make best use of them.
Apart from the Airtags and purple iPhone, Apple also announced a range of colourful new iMacs. These fit the whole computer into the screen, and use Apple’s powerful M1 chip for supreme performance. They also announced a new 4k model of the Apple TV with a redesigned remote and substantially more power. Both of these will be available in the second half of May.
Purple iPhone 12 & Mini
Talking of the latest iPhones, Apple also surprised us with a new colour for the iPhone 12 & iPhone 12 Mini - a vibrant purple colour, that sits nicely next to the white, black, green, blue and red colours already available. Seriously, that’s a really nice colour right there - I’m almost tempted to trade in my phone and grab one of those beauties!
This isn’t a limited edition or premium colour, and the innards are exactly the same as the standard iPhone 12 & 12 mini. So you’re still getting one of the best phones on the market - especially the iPhone 12 Mini, which marries fantastic specs with a compact design that fits in the hand nicely and doesn’t feel too chunky.
Unfortunately this snazzy new colour isn’t available for the iPhone 12 Pro - those are available in 4 colours: graphite, silver, gold and pacific blue.
So, does the shiny new purple colour or the promise of Apple-branded tracking devices have you craving a new phone? If so, check out our iPhone hub for all the information and best deals on the full range of Apple's smartphones.