Apple’s newly released AirTag FCC documents show that the Cupertino technology giant has begun regulatory testing nearly two years before the official release of its products, and is preparing to seek regulatory approval.
A series of documents submitted to the Federal Communications Commission indicate that AirTag was tested for formal certification between July and November 2019. Although testing was conducted in mid-2019, the official regulatory certification report was only released in September and October last year.
Like all consumer products, Apple devices must undergo extensive and rigorous testing by the Federal Communications Commission and the regulatory agencies of the country where the device will be sold before entering the market. Interestingly, the rumors of AirTag have been going on for two full years, most of the time it is rumored to be on the market soon.
The Federal Communications Commission documents indicate that AirTag’s progress is fast enough that they conducted regulatory testing in 2019, indicating that Apple may indeed postpone the launch of AirTag for as long as a year. Although the exact reason why Apple delayed AirTag is still a mystery, one possibility is that the company hopes to establish its Find My network before its launch to avoid accusations of anti-competitive behavior.
When AirTag was rumored to be developed, Tile, which created a series of similar item trackers, began to sound the alarm, believing that certain features of iOS would make it more difficult to compete with the ultimate Apple item tracker. At the time, companies like Tile had no real platform or network on Apple devices, making their item trackers mainstream or particularly easy to use compared to Apple-made accessories.
Earlier this month, Apple announced the opening of the Find My network to third-party accessory manufacturers. AirTag is based on the Find My network, which consists of more than 1 billion Apple devices, and uses encrypted signals to crowdsource the locations of other Find My compatible devices and items.
Before launching AirTag, opening up the network to third-party companies, Apple may think it will avoid censorship and anti-competitive allegations because its own item tracker no longer has an advantage over other companies’ devices on Apple devices.
Tile does not use Apple’s Find My ecosystem, and it is unclear whether the company plans to adopt the network in the future. However, other companies, such as Belkin, VanMoof, and Chipolo, have announced plans to use the Find My network for their products, including wireless headsets, bicycles, and an item tracker.
Besides, Apple’s AirTag started to accept pre-orders last night and will be delivered to users on April 30.