Apple Began Finding your way through AirTag Regulatory Approval Nearly 2 YRS Ago

FCC filings for Apple's newly released AirTags have revealed that the Cupertino tech giant started regulatory testing and preparing to seek regulatory approval for the merchandise nearly two years before they were officially announced.

A series of documents submitted to the Federal Communications Commission indicate that AirTag underwent testing for official qualification between July and November of 2019. Despite testing being conducted in mid-2019, official reports for regulatory documentation were only issued in September and October of this past year.

Like all consumer products, Apple devices must undergo comprehensive and rigorous testing with the FCC in the usa and regulatory agencies of countries where in fact the device will be sold before they are able to reach the market. Why is this case particularly interesting is that ‌AirTags‌ were the subject of rumors for a complete two years, with a launch seemingly imminent for a lot of that time.

With the FCC filings indicating that ‌AirTags‌ were far enough along that these were undergoing regulatory testing in 2019, it shows that Apple may indeed have pushed back the ‌AirTags‌ launch by as much as a year. While the exact reasoning behind Apple's delay for ‌AirTags‌ remains a spot of mystery, an informed guess could possibly be that the company wanted to build out its Find My network before its launch in order to avoid accusations of anti-competitive behavior.

As ‌AirTags‌ were rumored to maintain development, Tile, which creates a line of similar item trackers, started to ring the alarm bells that certain features in iOS would make it harder to contend with the eventual Apple item tracker. At that time, companies such as for example Tile had no real platform or network on Apple devices that would render their item trackers mainstream or particularly simple to use in comparison to an Apple-made accessory.

That changed earlier this month when Apple announced it's checking the Find My network to third-party accessory makers. AirTag is built from the ‌Find My‌ network that consists of more than a billion Apple devices that use encrypted signals to crowdsource the positioning of other ‌Find My‌ compatible devices and items.

By checking the network to third-party companies prior to the launch of ‌AirTags‌, Apple may have felt it could be avoiding scrutiny and anti-competitive accusations given that its item tracker would no longer have an edge on Apple devices in comparison to those made by other companies.

Tile doesn't use Apple's ‌Find My‌ ecosystem, and it's really unclear if the business plans to look at the network later on. Others, however, such as for example Belkin, VanMoof, and Chipolo, have announced plans to look at the ‌Find My‌ network because of their own products, including wireless earbuds, bikes, and an item tracker, respectively.

Apple's own ‌AirTags‌ became designed for pre-order earlier today and will get started arriving to customers on April 30.

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