We’ve been hearing rumors about Apple’s Bluetooth tracking accessory for over a year now, but the company has yet to officially announce the so-called AirTags. That might finally change in the near future, as TechCrunch reports that Apple launched a new app called Find My Certification Asst. on Sunday, April 4th. You might be wondering how exactly this app relates to a new Apple product, but we’ll get to that in a little while.
As the App Store page for the app explains, Find My Certification Assistant is for MFi licensees who want to “test discovery, connection, and other key requirements for accessories you develop that incorporate Find My network technology.” Currently, the Find My app is used to locate lost iPhone, iPad, Mac, and AirPods models, but in the near future, Apple is going to add support for third-party devices developed by other companies.
As you can see in the screenshots on the app’s store page, Find My Certification Asst. allows device makers to run tests in a wide variety of categories, from connectivity and sound to firmware and key management. Although it will be useful for hardware teams, it’s not exactly the kind of app that is going to receive much attention, but its release does indicate that Apple might be gearing up to bring support for third-party accessories to Find My.
Furthermore, it could also be a sign that the long-awaited debut of AirTags is right around the corner. There is certainly a chance that Apple’s Bluetooth trackers would already be out if not for the pandemic, but regardless, there’s very little left for Apple to reveal. We saw what was purported to be the final design of the AirTags in concept images based on a leaked video sent to Front Page Tech host Jon Prosser last September. At the time, Prosser suspected AirTags might be announced during Apple’s September press event, but that didn’t come to pass. Now, the expectation is that AirTags could be part of a spring event that Apple might be planning for this month.
The reason that Apple decided to open up the Find My app to third parties in the first place was because Tile — the biggest player in the Bluetooth tracker market — complained that Apple would have an unfair advantage by restricting its lost item app to first-party products. In response, Apple gave third-party developers access to the U1 chip with ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. Apple also added an Items tab to the Find My app in a recent iOS 14 beta release, where users will be able to keep track of their Tiles trackers and their AirTags.