Apple AirTag assessment
Not an ideal Apple product, mind you. AirTag has room to grow. But it actually encapsulates some critical points of Apple’s product design philosophy for each good and ill.
Apple has often excelled at objective-built products. Think of Apple’s various “pod” products over time: iPod, HomePod, AirPods. All glorious products built towards singular purposes (even when the HomePod has now been discontinued, I still contend that it’s a wonderful speaker, just as Apple designed it to be).
AirTags are just such a product. Apple designed these little trackers to do one kind of thing: assist you find your misplaced stuff. And they do this well! Very well, in fact. There are just some design choices that I query and finally hope Apple finds a way to address.
At $29, the AirTag price is right. A little more costly than its Tile Mate or Chipolo One competitors and a little less expensive than the Tile Pro, AirTags are priced more competitively than I consider many (myself included) feared.
You will discover AirTags on-line, and they’re now available in Apple Stores, as well as third-party retailers like Amazon and Best Buy. While delivery dates have already slipped into early Might, I expect that Apple will be able to keep up with demand for this particular product. If you wish to get your AirTags engraved, you must count on some shipping delay from Apple.
If I had to pick one phrase to summarize Apple’s approach to the AirTag’s design, it could be “unobtrusive, but not invisible.” One thing that is clear in everything from the software to the accessories to the actual AirTag itself is that this is a device that’s meant to be noticed, even if only for a second. Perhaps smartly, Apple isn’t positioning AirTag as an anti-theft gadget but as a loss prevention/recovery one.
Unsurprisingly, the AirTag itself is fairly simple, with the white shell of the tracker completely unadorned save for any engraving you’ve completed in the course of the ordering process (side note: Apple, is there a particular reason why certain common, helpful emoji, like keys, aren’t available for AirTag engraving?). On the flip side, the stainless steel battery cover is etched with writing, letting you know that this is certainly an AirTag, uses Bluetooth LE and Ultra Wideband, and that it’s assembled in China. All of this writing surrounds the matte etched Apple emblem within the heart of the cover.
Now, on a certain level, after all it doesn’t. Is Apple really going to put a hole at a single point of their good little circle? No, clearly not (additionally, now it’s a must to purchase an accessory, possibly from Apple). Alternatively, it creates a notable difficulty for one of many main uses of an item tracker, and that is keeping track of your keys!
Because if you’re going to put an AirTag in a bag or purse, then you definately’re fine just picking up an AirTag. But if you want to put these on your keys, which I have to emphasize, goes to be the reason some folks consider picking an AirTag up, you additionally need to get some kind of carrying accessory that attaches your AirTag to your keys.
That aside, I actually like the design of the AirTag, as a lot or more than different trackers, no less than as an object. It is like a slightly over-large go tile. Plus, the battery compartment is simple to open and close, making removing an old battery and changing it with a new one very simple.
The AirTag has solid hardware, I think Apple might’ve accomplished more to develop its capabilities. Is this a dealbreaker for you? It is not for me. Once I think of the drawbacks presented by the lack of a keyring hole versus the potential tracking power of the Find My network, and then I think about the comparatively limited networks of competing products, I think it’s definitely worth the trade-off, and thus, having to make another buy to connect AirTags to my keys.
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