Finally, the Apple AirTags has debuted, and we wanted to take a look at the new kid on the block in the Lost and Found space and probably throw some shade at Tile for missing all the features we love.
What do we love!
As Lost and Found nerds, we love new tech and new ways to do things, but years have seeing Tile and other tags not work have made us a bit skeptical.
Find My iPhone
Find My iPhone is probably one of the most useful applications for Lost and Found in the last ten years, but we’re working on topping that with the Liff App.
Find My iPhone is simple enough, although there are still challenges to set up and use. It has high adoption, reduces crime by leaving devices mostly valueless, and is quite effective at locating the item or leaving information for a finder to contact, so adding extra stuff to this application is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, adding a little toggle to things doesn’t impart all of these benefits, like locking or erasing data, but it still provides some excellent features.
Cold and Warm
The underlying tech, if it works, is very sweet. I really wish this would be adapted to finding your phones as well. A pin on a map is nice-ish as it gets you within 30 meters but that’s still a lot of land to search. The Ultra Wideband tech provides a distance and directional arrow to find you stuff, basically magic when looking for misplaced and lost items.
Tile is ok at misplacement, but terrible at loss. Misplacement = the item is somewhere in the house and not sure where I put it so play a sound to narrow down where I need to look.
NFC Scan for Contact Info
I love love love this! Especially as a person who runs Lost and Found operations at many events, letting the owner know we found an item and where they need to go to pick it up is a lifesaver.
The most frustrating item to have is a set of car keys with a useless Tile on it. We can’t actively help get it back, and if we do return the item, “F***ing useless” is a pretty common comment by the owner.
What we dislike!
We were thinking about going with what we hate about Apple’s AirTags, but there just isn’t enough to be that harsh, unlike Tile.
Having the tracker and leash to attach it be as or more expensive than the item it is protecting is insane to me. I get Apple is aiming for the premium product space, but it’s a bit of leather. So that’s silly.
QR Codes are having a bit of a renaissance right now due to the pandemic; pretty much every restaurant I’ve visited has a QR Code to pull up the menu. I love it and love that the public is trained on how to use this tech. NFC is cool but not nearly as well known.
We are working on fixing that for the Apple AirTags, like adding a feature to our Protect package to support QR Codes, but it would have been nice for Apple to help increase adoption.
Overall we love the idea and hope it helps reduce the lost items—pickup some AirTags before heading to the next music festival, concert, or rushing through the airport.
Not getting paid for this or even affiliate money, we’re just fans.