Global accessory brand Belkin, item locator brand Chipolo and electric bike company VanMoof have today been announced as the first to bring third party products to market featuring Apple’s “Find My” item tracking network.
Until now, Find My has been an App used by Apple product owners to locate their iPhone, iPad, Mac and even locate family or friends who are sharing their location.
The new accessory program from Apple allows third party company’s to embed the Find My system into their products so they can be found using the same Find My app being used today.
It’s a direct challenger to the many item locator networks that exist, such as Orbit, Tile and even Chipolo. These devices, when attached to your Keys for example allow you to find them in your own personal space – perhaps the keys are under the lounge, you can play a sound to find them, or if you lose them out in public when other users of the same app can be privately helping you find your missing keys without even knowing they are helping.
Apple’s system works with the same concept in mind, Bob Borchers – Apple vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing says “For more than a decade, our customers have relied on Find My to locate their missing or stolen Apple devices, all while protecting their privacy,”
“Now we’re bringing the powerful finding capabilities of Find My, one of our most popular services, to more people with the Find My network accessory program. We’re thrilled to see how Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof are utilizing this technology, and can’t wait to see what other partners create.”
EFTM can confirm both Belkin and Chipolo products will be available in Australia featuring the Apple Find My tracking
These will be the first to feature a “Works with Apple Find My” badge on their packaging and marketing.
Notably, the Chipolo product appears to “work exclusively with Apple Find My App”, meaning it can’t be used in both their own Chipolo app at the same time as Apple Find My.
This means we’re unlikely to see market leader Tile join the party without a willingness to essentially walk-away from their own app and network. How a company like that pivots will be fascinating to watch.
While rumours two years ago were that Apple itself was creating an “Apple Tag” it seems more likely this third party approach is exactly their plan, perhaps a company like Tile will jump into the Find My network if there is an assurance Apple itself won’t begin making its own trackers.
For Belkin, their first true wireless headphones, the SOUNDFORM Freedom will feature the embedded technology allowing you to track down those tiny earbuds if you’ve misplaced them.
How does the Apple Find My network work?
Apple’s find my network uses Bluetooth signals to communicate device to device, and it does not require an internet connection on the device, thus, a set of headphones or a tiny little tag can be part of the program.
It works by using the hyper connected Apple devices that are out in society such as iPhones, iPads or Macs, hundreds of millions of them globally – which are always looking for Bluetooth signals.
If they detect the signal from a device with a Find My tag embedded, that tag location can be privately and anonymously sent to the tag owner.
No one, not Apple, or the product manufacturer can ever view the location either live or historically due to the encrypted and anonymous nature of the network.