Apple AirTag - Have Apple executives lost their minds?

Andrew LeniartBlogger, Journalist, IT Professional, Tech Writer, Qualified Editor
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A quick look at one of Apple's latest gadgets. AirTags and their Accessories. Read on to save yourself a ton of money and have a great laugh at the same time.
My view of Apple's latest AirTag device

I was so shocked when I learned about the price of this latest AppleTM gadget that I just had to write about it. I've no idea who Apple is targeting with this device because, from what I can see, it's about as useless for its stated purpose as it is totally over-priced.

Mainstream media news outlet 9News in Australia has just released a report that the AirTag is currently being pulled from Australian retail shelves due to some concerns raised about the size of the button batteries being a possible safety concern for youngsters.

Apple's new AirTags are touted as a great way to locate things you often misplace. Keys, Wallets, Handbags etc. The trouble is, the listed price of the gadget is so high that only very wealthy consumers would ever be able to afford them.

At A$45 apiece, you'll be looking at A$135 to protect just three items, but wait, that's not all. There are no free steak knives, so if you want to also purchase one of the accessories that allow you to attach it to your car keys or something else, you'll need to dig out yet another A$45.00 for a holder, so that's an investment of A$90.00 just to try and locate your keys at home - assuming it actually works that is!

Available accessories for the AirTag to allow you to attach the device to your belongings (at time of writing) currently range in price from A$45.00 all the way to a whopping A$679.00, yet all they are are a small piece of leather designed to hold the device. If that's not the very definition of being overpriced, then I don't know what is.

Fortunately, company Belkin Electronics has come to the rescue and offered a Keytag and Loop holder for the devices at 'only' A$19.95. Still overpriced in my view, but at least not ridiculously so like Apple's offering.

The AirTag gadget and its available accessories can be viewed on Apple's website listing all prices.
 
Yet the price isn't the only problem with the device. The gadget relies on Bluetooth technology to communicate with your iPhone, which is both notoriously unreliable and prone to interference. The other problem with Bluetooth connectivity is that it only works at very short distances.

A video review of the product by 9News reporter Mark Santomartino where he tested the device's functionality, reveals the following.

Mark hung one of these devices around his dog's neck that was shown lying on a couch. Yet whenever his dog moved even ever so slightly, the location signal would be lost, so unless you have a pet that tends to stay "very still" all day, this probably isn't the device you want to use to track where they are.

Want to find your keys? (Another $90 to attach the AirTag to them) Then don't expect the AirTag to help you there unless you plan to stay inside your house. As soon as he moved outside for testing, the location signal was lost (despite the Bluetooth connection still existing) and did not return until he was just a few metres away from his keys hanging in the keyhole of his front door. That's a great example of Bluetooth (un)reliability right there.

To Mark's credit, in all efforts to be fair in his tests, he then conducted a distance reliability test while outside with a clear line of sight to the AirTag to eliminate any possible interference. This time the device fared a little better and provided a whopping ~40 metres of reliable location connectivity before it reverted to being just as useless as before.

So what happens if you lose something that's further than 40 metres from your smartphone?

Apple has integrated their Find my Device technology which will track the last location that your iPhone was connected to your AirTag. Except that the trouble with that idea is that it won't alert you to where it's located when lost but will happily alert any strangers that happen to be nearby about its presence. So you'd better hope an honest person is the one that finds your wallet, bag, or whatever.

Even though I own and occasionally use an Apple MacAir laptop, I've never been a massive fan of Apple products because I consider everything they sell to be totally overpriced. I thought their computers were expensive, yet the cost of this latest invention takes the cake.

What's your take on this gadget? Do you have any examples of your own about Apple offerings that are priced beyond the affordability of the average person? Please comment below and let me know.

Andrew Leniart
Freelance Journalist

Note: All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are not be confused with any opinions held by the publisher.


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Andrew LeniartBlogger, Journalist, IT Professional, Tech Writer, Qualified Editor
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IT Professional - Helping others to help themselves. https://andrewleniart.com & https://www.computerhelpzone.com.au/testimonial/

Comments (12)

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Fellow
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
@David

It's the size of the AirTag, which is "button size" which attracts infants!

As for Tile, I don't really use it expecting someone to find my item, or keys if I drop them.

I've always found that limited

1. it's based on users in your location.

2. Users using the App.

As an experiment, many years ago, when I first backed Tile as a Kickstarter, I hid a Tile and Keys with a note, in a City in the UK (in a busy area) - the battery is checked and replaced every year, and to date no-one has returned or found it.

At the Allotments where I regularly visit, I dropped my keys, again no-one found them, not one of our 36 Allotment members uses the TileApp, or has an Iphone, so in the event I use an AirTag, that would not help me either.

I think Tile's beef, is the fact Apple has the "find" function built into t he OS, same argument, as Microsoft including Internet Explorer in their Windows OS.

I'm going to try the same experiment and hide an AirTag in the same location and see if it gets returned!

In my experience, keyfobs with a £10/£20 finders fee works better!

Just as an aside, and a little off-topic same location as a WiFi HotSpot since 1999, using 40 bit WEP 3COM Access Point, which has *NEVER* been hacked, because their is a finders fee attached to that experiment! WebServer with Mobile Phone number, telling them Congrats! you've WON - £x GBP !

I'm still waiting for the phone to ring to this day......

(and we knows it's not been hacked, because no-one has ever connected, checking the logs, and with todays tech, you should be able to capture enough 40 bit packets in notime, and decrupt the password).
Andrew LeniartBlogger, Journalist, IT Professional, Tech Writer, Qualified Editor
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Author

Commented:
@Andy
In my experience, keyfobs with a £10/£20 finders fee works better!
I'm an honest person by nature so have returned a wallet once via post and taken another with no identification in it to a cop shop many years ago and both had money in them. But even if I wasn't, a 10 or 20 pound finders reward would have a great chance of getting your item back in my opinion. Unless it was a wallet that had more cash than that in it. Maybe then not so much lol :)
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Fellow
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
@Andrew

It's interesting that, a friend in a Local Police Station, tells me they have literally buckets of mobile phones and wallets brought to them by Taxi companies now, all phones are locked, wallets have no IDs, or cards, just cash.

Police hold them for 6 months, and just give them back to taxi drivers.

No-one collects from Police Station, because they suspect people are so drunk they don't know where they lost it, and just claim new phone on insurance!
David ShafferProfessional Development Intern
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Commented:
@Andrew

That's incredibility interesting! I can see how something the size and shape of an AirTag could be hypnotic to children.

The funny thing for me is that during the introduction of AirTags I laughed thinking they were going to have to do something special to beat Tile. Many of my friends already have Tile with a few being a kickstarter backer like you! I was surprised by the end of Apple's presentation. So far a few of my friends have jumped over to AirTag, but I'm interested to see the future for it!

Especially since Apple can update the software for AirTags over the air. We'll see what they can do!
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Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
https://www.sammobile.com/opinion/if-apple-cant-innovate-whats-left-samsung-copy/amp/

Despite the facts that Apple and Samsung are direct competitors for consumer gadgets like smartphones, tablets, the executives from both sides might be sharing the same pool for *innovative marketing intelligence * so both of them come up with conceptually similar, but technically different products at about the same time at matching price.

Apple Airtag and Samsung Smart Tag are just one of the many examples.

https://www.imore.com/apple-airtags-vs-samsung-galaxy-smarttags

It does not matter whether the new gadgets will provide good returns in term of investment as long as they are perceived to be a market leader for *innovative gadgets* by the consumers.

After all, it is the preceived value from consumers which maintains their premium brand value and hence an above average share price in stock markets. For accessories like Airtag, it does not matter whether someone will buy it but Apple needs to maintain a matching product when their executives know that Samsung will come up with something new which they do not offer.





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