Patent filing hints at the rumored ‘Apple Tags’ gadgets

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple will introduce its own tracking device, possibly dubbed “Apple Tag,” at today’s “By Innovation Only” event. A new patent filing (number 10,410,485) hints that this could indeed happen.

The Tile is a tiny Bluetooth tracker and app combo. After you have purchased your Tile, download the app to iOS device, and y pair your Tile to your device. Once your device is paired use your app to find your item; just listen for the ring.

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Based on Kuo’s prediction, you could attach Apple’s circular alternative to iPhones, iPads, Apple TV remotes, keys, wallets, etc, to help track down missing items. Supposedly, the Tags will integrate with the new Find My app that will debut in Apple’s operating system updates.

Today’s patent filing is for devices and methods for locating accessories of an electronic device such as AirPods, other headphones, and even iPhones and iPads themselves. In one example, a method may include detecting parameters associated with disconnecting an accessory from the electronic device. The electronic device, or an associated device, may store the detected parameters so that the detected parameters are accessible if the accessory becomes lost. 

The electronic device may receive a request from a user of the electronic device for assistance in locating the accessory. In response to the request for assistance in locating the accessory, the electronic device may provide the stored parameters to the user of the electronic device to aid them in searching for their lost accessory.

In the patent filing, Apple says that to aid an individual in finding some accessories, the accessories may include electronics to transmit signals to another device. Based on characteristics of the transmitted signals, the receiving device may be able to determine if the accessory is within a certain range. However, some accessories have limited abilities, or no ability, to transmit signals to another device. 

For example, wired headsets, adaptor cables, power cables, keyboards, docking stations, and speakers may have no ability to transmit signals. Moreover, wireless headphones may have limited abilities to transmit signals (e.g., they may be limited to providing signals only when another device is within a limited transmission range of the wireless headphones).