AirTag: Has Apple Lost Interest?

An alert pops up on my Mac: “Your Apple AirTag battery is low. Please replace.” I’ll be honest, I’d completely forgotten I even had an AirTag. And I’m beginning to wonder if Apple has too.

It’s been 18 months since Apple first launched the AirTag, but if you visit the Apple website now, you’d be forgiven for failing to notice the product even exists. The AirTag is tucked away near the bottom of the Accessories section of the website, and is mentioned a few times on the Store page, but it’s not exactly front and center.

Of course, you wouldn’t expect a low-margin piece of $30 hardware to be splashed right across the top of the homepage more than a year after launch, but it definitely feels like the AirTag has become an also-ran.

Google Trends suggests it’s not exactly at the forefront of consumer thinking, either.

There was an obvious early peak in interest when the product first launched in April 2021, and again last Christmas. Interest also spiked again in the summer months, presumably as consumers looked for a product to track their vacation luggage. But it’s been on a downward slope since then. It will be interesting to see if this holiday season revives interest in the AirTags once more.

Mystery Updates

Apple hasn’t lost all interest in the AirTag. A firmware update was released earlier this month, though Apple provided no details of what the software update contained. That was the first update since April 2022, when the company boosted the sound on the device to make it easier to locate AirTags that had been surreptitiously planted on unknowing victims.

The privacy concerns may be one of the reasons Apple isn’t putting too much effort into further developing AirTags. Apple has been accused of developing a product that makes life easier for stalkers and car thieves alike – not a great look for a company that makes a big play about protecting customers’ privacy at all times.

Do AirTags have a long-term future in the Apple product portfolio? It’s hard to say. It’s not unknown for Apple to leave a product lying fallow for years before suddenly reviving interest with a new version. And it’s not as if the product has a ton of features that would benefit from a refresh.

But with the first generation of owners now needing to replenish batteries in their AirTags, the big test will be whether they even bother to do so. I’m not sure I will.

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