Last July, Glenn Fleishman reported that Apple was officially opening up its Find My service to third-party accessory makers, with the capability expected in late 2020 (see “Apple Opens “Find My” Crowdsourcing to Third-Party Accessories,” 9 July 2020). In Apple’s now-typical stylishly late fashion, Find My is finally available to third-party developers.
The first devices in the new program are Vanmoof’s S3 and X3 e-bikes, Belkin’s Soundform Freedom wireless earbuds, and the Chipolo One item finder. Being part of the Find My network is an extension of Apple’s Made for iPhone program, and each approved device must meet Apple’s standards for privacy. None are shipping yet, however.
This announcement means that you will be able to track more than just iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and AirPods (plus your Apple-using friends) with the Find My app. Any compatible device can be tracked, like your e-bike or earbuds. The Chipolo One addition is especially interesting since you could attach one to pretty much anything, like backpacks, keys, remote controls, your car, etc.
Apple also announced that it will be releasing a draft specification in the coming weeks that will let chipset makers tap into the U1 Ultra Wideband chips in newer iPhones, which will allow for more precise and directionally aware location data.
No mention was made of the long-rumored AirTags, a wireless tracker like Tile that Apple has reportedly been working on for years. We wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Apple opening up Find My crowdsourcing is laying the groundwork for such a product. We also hope the rumored next-generation Apple TV remote includes this technology because Apple remotes are notoriously slippery and easy to lose.
Would the addition of Find My compatibility make you more likely to consider buying a device that supported it? Are there any devices in particular that you hope incorporate Find My compatibility?