Apple last month announced the AirTag tracker and its packaging indicates it was slated to come out a lot earlier, but the release was delayed by more than a year. YouTube channel ZONEofTECH’s Daniel has uploaded images that show that the AirTag box mentions the year 2020 and the Leather Keyring has the date 2019.
It could be that Apple didn’t see a point in releasing a tracker at a time when most iPhones did not have the U1 chip that uses the ultra-wideband (UWB) technology for locating other U1-equipped devices such as the AirTag. That has changed with the arrival of the iPhone 12, as it has joined the iPhone 11 in offering the UWB tech.
Another possibility is that Apple didn’t want to attract any more antitrust scrutiny in 2020. Devices inside of Apple’s Find My network can help track down a lost AirTag and the Cupertino giant opened up the network to third-party companies a few days before it revealed its Bluetooth tracker. An earlier launch could have drawn criticism for anti-competitive behavior.
The AirTag is $29 a pop and also comes in a pack of four for $99. It is now shipping to customers.