AirTag: Has Apple lost interest?

A notification appears on my Mac: “The Apple AirTag battery is low. Please replace.” I’ll be honest, I had completely forgotten I even had AirTag. And I’m starting to wonder if Apple does too.

It’s been 18 months since Apple first released the AirTag, but if you visited Apple’s website now, you’d be forgiven for not even realizing the product existed. The AirTag is tucked away near the bottom of the website’s Accessories section and is sometimes mentioned on the Store page, but it’s not right up front and center.

Of course, you wouldn’t expect a low-margin $30 piece of hardware to shoot right to the top of the front page more than a year after launch, but it sure looks like the AirTag has had a run, too.

Google Trends suggests it’s not exactly at the forefront of consumers’ minds.

There was an obvious early peak in interest when the product was first released in April 2021 and again last Christmas. Interest picked up again in the summer months, possibly as consumers looked for a product to track their holiday luggage. But it has been on a downward spiral ever since. It will be interesting to see if this holiday season revives interest in AirTags once again.

Secret updates

Apple hasn’t lost all interest in AirTag. A firmware update was released earlier this month, although Apple did not provide details on what the software update contained. This was the first update since April 2022, when the company boosted the sound on the device to make it easier to detect AirTags that had been secretly placed on unknown victims.

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

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

But with the first generation of owners now needing to top up the 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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