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Apple’s AirTag revealed in a newly published patent application




The two patent applications filed by Apple appear to portray the company’s widely anticipated AirTags item tracker (via Patently Apple).

Filings that contain a large number of images are titled “Wirelessly Placeable Tag Mounting Base” and “Zipper with Restraint Ring” and can be used to determine the absolute position of an object. Is explained. In a more accurate way than GPS. The patent also reveals a number of potential AirTags features.

The filings outline “tags used to track objects,” that is, “small, convenient-shaped devices that can be attached to objects,” and “robust enough to be used reliably in a variety of conditions and environments. Structural design “is a feature. They suggest that “the tag is waterproof or at least drip-proof and may be able to withstand impacts, drop events, or other common trauma resulting from normal use of the tag.” There is. It may also be able to provide tactile and audible output.

The image of the patent also depicts the potential design of the tag. This faithfully reflects the rumored design with metal discs on the back and plastic shells on the top and sides. It seems that a speculated leather pouch with a keychain ring is also drawn.

The tag’s position tracking and orientation features are said to be very accurate, “smartphones may be able to locate tags with accuracy within 3 feet and even within 1 foot.” These patents describe how the entire network environment, including tags, smartphones, computers, and other devices, probably provides functionality over ultra-wideband connections.

Tags can be used not only to locate misplaced objects, but also to trigger actions on other devices when they are in a particular proximity or orientation. The patent automatically puts a map of the building on the smartphone because the tag is “located in the lobby of the building, so when an individual enters the lobby, the smartphone can detect that it is within the threshold distance of the tag. It will be displayed in.”

The patent also explains that tags can work in different modes. “In normal operating mode … the tag saves power and establishes momentary or intermittent communication with one or more other devices … check the location and the state or location of the tag. In this way, the tag can basically update other devices on a regular basis. ”Interestingly, this communication seems to be working in a one-way system, and the tag sends. I haven’t received any information from other devices.

“Lost mode” occurs “in response to an unexpected loss of communication between a tag and one or more other devices” and the tag securely routes encrypted transmissions through a third-party device. , Allows you to send information to the owner’s device. This means that a lost tag can be quietly discovered by someone else just getting close to it, allowing the owner to locate the tag. In another mode, you can use the same system to report the location and status of tags left at home, for example through a connection with other devices at home.

The image also shows a tag, an Apple Watch Band, a cord or strap, and a circuit that can be opened and closed in a compact storage case. The patent also shows that the tag can be charged by attaching it to the base. This could be similar to Apple’s MagSafe charging cable.

Curiously, the image also shows how to place tags on the user’s body to monitor posture, control games and avatars, and monitor body movements during training.

Tags may also be used in augmented reality and AR games. For example, tags can be used as pieces in AR Chess games because they can be located with high accuracy. You can then visually replace it with computer-generated graphics in an augmented reality environment.

The patent does not prove that it has all these features when “AirTags” was announced, but the length and width of the application is amazing. At the very least, they reinforce Apple’s commitment to ultra-wideband technology. Nonetheless, the close correlation between these filings and various “AirTags” rumors may not be a coincidence.

For more information on ‌AirTags‌, see the complete summary.

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