Apple has announced the launch of its “ Find My network ” accessory program to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked through iPhone, iPad and Mac devices using the preloaded Find My app. The Cupertino giant has also brought an updated Find My app that includes a dedicated Items tab to make it easy for its customers to locate and track all compatible third-party devices. Apple initially partnered with Belkin, Chipolo and VanMoof, which will offer their new devices eligible for the Find My Network program starting next week.
Belkin’s Soundform Freedom True Wireless Headphones, Chipolo One Spot Item Finder, and VanMoof S3 and X3 Electric Bikes will be the first third-party products to be compatible with Apple’s Find My Network. However, Apple has also paved the way for other manufacturers and products.
Apple has said that any accessory developer who wants to connect an existing or new product to the Find My network can join the Find My Network Accessories Program, which is part of its Made for iPhone (MFi) program. Third-party devices must adhere to all of the privacy protections of the Find My network, the company said.
Customers will be able to add approved devices from the Find My Network Accessory Program to the Items tab of the Find My app. These devices may also have a “Works with Apple Find My” badge.
Apple also presented a draft specification for chipset makers that will allow third-party device makers to take advantage of the Ultra Wideband technology offered in Apple devices equipped with U1, including the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 series, to deliver a more precise and direction sensitive device. nearby location tracking. The draft specification will be released later this spring.
By launching the Find My Accessories Network Program and updating the Find My app with the Items tab, Apple has enabled its customers to get the same experience of locating missing third-party accessories that they previously had. to find missing Apple devices. The Find My app allows iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to locate their lost items on a map, play a sound to locate its location, and put it in Lost Mode to lock it immediately. The app also allows you to display a message with the owner’s contact number and even remotely wipe data on the lost device in case it fell into the wrong hands.
In addition to the Find My app which allows tracking of the location of internet-connected devices, Apple has the Find My Network which allows users to locate their missing devices even if they are not connected or cannot find their way. connect to the Internet. It functions as a participatory network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that use Bluetooth wireless technology to detect nearby missing devices or items and report their approximate location to the owner.
Apple claims that the entire process of locating and tracking devices through the Find My network is end-to-end encrypted and anonymous, so that no one else, not even the company itself or the third-party manufacturer, cannot display the location or information of a device. .
As a result of the latest update, third-party devices can be added to the Find My app on the iPhone running iOS 14.3 and later, iPad on iPadOS 14.3 and later, or a Mac device based on macOS Big On 11.1 and later.
Apple made the last major update to the Find My app in 2019, when it combined the Find My Friends and Find My iPhone apps into one unified app. This update was delivered through iOS 13 and was also available on Mac devices through macOS 10.15.
The ability to track lost items through the Find My app gives Apple a distinct advantage over Android devices which so far lack a similar native solution. Samsung is, however, trying to take Apple’s Find My with its SmartThings Find which it extended with the release of the Galaxy SmartTag in January.
However, the separate Find My app experience caused problems for Apple last year – when Bluetooth tracking device maker Tile and other companies accused the iPhone maker of abusing its market power to disadvantage their competitive solutions.
Apple is also in the rumors for developing its own Bluetooth tracker called AirTag which could accept similar offers from Tile and other companies. However, with the introduction of the Find My network accessories program, it becomes interesting to see what Apple would bring to its native offering in terms of providing a different experience compared to similar third-party Bluetooth beacons.
What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.