Now that Apple’s Find My program has officially launched with a line of third-party accessories, we wonder what Apple’s plans are for proprietary products. AirTags have been rumored for years now, but Apple just announced a licensed Chipolo tracker. Another accessory featured today is a pair of black wireless headphones from Belkin with built-in Find My technology. 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 from AirTags, aside from the premium design and supposed 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 the AirTags?” It has always been said that AirTags are much more advanced than other trackers. They’re supposed to include AR features that make it easy to see where an item is in the real world through your phone’s camera.
AirTags have been circulating the rumor mill for almost two years now, and it’s easy to assume they’re no longer in the pipeline with Apple promoting these new Chipolo trackers. It’s more likely, however, that the AirTags are still on, but not quite ready. If they really focus on AR, they might be hesitant to share them with new APIs at WWDC or even next to glasses. They can basically be used as targets for glasses. We’ll just have to wait and see. We know this is a real product that Apple is working on, it’s just a matter of when we see them.
One very obvious place to live with Find My Tech is in the headphones. I expected Apple to introduce new AirPods with this built-in technology before promoting third-party headphones. But nonetheless, Belkin is becoming the star of the show for now. Belkin’s Find My compatible headphones are referred to as Soundform Freedom True wireless headphones. They look like a ton of other AirPod knockoffs. Their main differentiator is that they are black instead of white. They charge via USB-C or with Qi, have 36 hours of battery life and are splash resistant. They also cost just $ 99 compared to the $ 159 that AirPods start from. It is very good value for money. So it’s surprising that they promote them before the next generation AirPods.
I think there is no 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’re not actually trackable. Compatibility with the new Find My network is such an obvious addition to AirPods, and could easily tell consumers that they should upgrade. New AirPods are expected at some point this year, so it is very possible that we will get compatible AirPods very soon.
Hopefully AirPods Max will also be compatible with Find My in the future, but the product is so new that I can’t see it happening anytime soon. I could see Apple showcasing 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 for the new Find My network? Let us know in the comments below.
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