Chipolo, known for its Bluetooth trackers in various sizes, has released the first hardware specifically designed for Apple’s “Where is?” Network, which the company has just opened to third-party providers. Interestingly enough, the small company overtakes the iPhone manufacturer itself, because its own “AirTags” – probably based on Bluetooth and Ultra-Wideband – have still not been presented.
The first official “Where is?” Tracker goes by the name ONE spot and is based on the known ONE from the manufacturer, who has been on the market since spring 2020. The ONE Spot works completely with Apple’s infrastructure, so it doesn’t use Chipolo’s regular app. The hardware comes with a term of twelve months. The battery – probably a button cell – can be commendably replaced, which is not the case with some other trackers. The ONE Spot is water-resistant (there is currently no information about the class) and reports with a volume of up to 120 dB when pinged. Pre-orders are possible from May, delivery starts in June. The manufacturer has not yet announced a price.
The “Where is?” Network, also known as “Find My” in English, can track down lost Apple devices – from iPhones to Macs to AirPods. A special feature is that Apple also uses the end-to-end encrypted infrastructure to use search queries for other people’s items. Basically, the approach is based on the short-range radio Bluetooth, but the ultra-wideband technology (ultra-broadband, UWB) built into current iPhones and the HomePod mini can also be used – for which Apple plans to publish hardware details soon so that chipset manufacturers can develop their own products.
Additional hardware with “Where is?”
In addition to Apple’s own hardware and the Chipolo ONE spot, Belkin’s true wireless earplugs Soundform Freedom and the latest S3 and X3 e-bikes from VanMoof also support the “Where is?” Network. More products are likely to be added gradually. It remains unclear when Apple will launch its first tracker on the market. The devices, presumably called “AirTags”, have been expected since summer 2019, but so far Apple has made no move to present them. Thanks to UWB, the hardware should work much more precisely indoors than Bluetooth trackers.