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AirTags, until their official announcement earlier this month, had remained one of the most rumored Apple products of the last few years. Initial reports about an Apple item tracker began to surface in 2019, and in the entirety of the two years that followed, AirTags' release seemed to be constantly imminent.

AirTags-from-2019-spotlit.jpg

Last week, FCC filings revealed that Apple began seeking regulatory approval and certification for AirTags in 2019, with testing taking place in the second half of the year. Now, as AirTags have begun to arrive to customers worldwide, new evidence is reaffirming that AirTags have been ready to launch for a considerable amount of time.

Images of paperwork included inside the box for Apple's Keyring AirTag accessory shared on Twitter by Apple YouTuber ZONEofTECH show the year "2019" listed for regulatory and trademark purposes. However, on the AirTags box itself, the year 2020 is listed. Both writings clearly indicate that Apple could have announced and shipped AirTags as early as possibly 2019, but it was inclined not to do so until two years later.

While not for certain, Apple's decision to delay AirTags release could have been related to the scrutiny the company faced and continues to face on accusations of anti-competitive behavior from competing item-tracker maker Tile. AirTags became available for pre-order last week and cost $29 each or $99 for a pack of four.

Article Link: Packaging Reveals Apple Was Preparing to Ship AirTags as Early as 2019
 
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mtneer

macrumors 68040
Sep 15, 2012
3,084
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This can be confirmed in discovery of someone decides to launch a lawsuit against Apple.
 
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G5isAlive

macrumors 65816
Aug 28, 2003
1,325
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I would like to hope the delay was over improving the support software. If it's because of lawyers... what am I saying it's always about the lawyers. Sucks.
 
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kol77

macrumors newbie
Sep 10, 2019
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29
East Coast
Umm... What about waiting for Find My ecosystem to be, I would say launched but perhaps matured... Not sure it was all that sinister.
 
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fontman

macrumors member
Jan 13, 2009
90
21
Costa mesa
Funny yeah they Musta had all the the AirTag accessory things at another warehouse I thought I got my whole order it now I only got the AirTag holders boo-hoo even though they show both being shipped by UPS this one came by another shipper I've never heard of very strange.
 
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nwcs

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2009
2,068
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Tennessee
A certain version of airtags might have been ready. The scrutiny likely played some role but I wouldn’t be surprised if they waited for more U1 capable devices to be out there plus adding some new capabilities to have a stronger product at launch.
 
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69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,809
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In between a rock and a hard place
Umm... What about waiting for Find My ecosystem to be, I would say launched but perhaps matured... Not sure it was all that sinister.
Find my has been mature for some time. It wasn't available for use by 3rd parties. It is now. MR is implying AirTags may have been delayed so that Apple could make the Find My ecosystem not a 1st party exclusive, lessening the impact of claims of anti-competitiveness.
 
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MVMNT

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2010
252
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Wise time to put it to market when some countries feel like they can get out a little bit more. There was no pressure to bring a location based device out when no one was going anywhere.
 
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Force332

macrumors member
Mar 13, 2011
84
223
Based on rumors at the time and code found in the iOS 13 betas, I was expecting them to be announced alongside the iPhone 11 series. My own personal guess based on everything we've seen over the last two years, AirTags were developed for release either late 2019 along side the iPhone 11 or early 2020 as a follow up accessory and somewhere close to that time the increasing antitrust scrutiny forced Apple to postpone their release and first develop third party support for the Find My network which then took the length of the iOS 14 development cycle to get in place before they felt comfortable releasing.

I'm sure we'll never hear confirmation of the real story, but to me this is all plausible and the most likely scenario.
 
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_Spinn_

macrumors 6502
Nov 6, 2020
437
876
Wisconsin
Interesting. It would make sense since the iPhone 11 came out in 2019 and that was the first phone to have the U1 chip. My guess is Apple intended to launch AirTags either early in 2020 or possibly with the iPhone 12 but the pandemic and/or waiting to open up the Find My network delayed the release.
 
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thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
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Apple wanted a critical mass of UWB-equipped phones before launch...

You only get one chance to launch, and you need the general opinion at launch to be "this is magic" not "wake me in two years when it actually works".
This sounds more reasonable.

I don't think Apple would be worried over Tile's lawyers.

They would be worried about launching something no one could use though.
 
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