AirTags Are a Classic Story of a New Technology With Benefits That Are Also Concerns

Lucas Matney, TechCrunch:

Apple has arranged so much of their wearable product marketing over the last few years on how their devices function in edge use cases. The Apple Watch’s last several generations have focused on health tracking features that could help identify rare conditions or help users in a life-threatening situation. TV commercials have documented the individual stories of users who have found the Apple Watch to be a life-saving tool. With AirTags, there’s potential for some of that same good, but there’s also much more downside. In the next year, we’re undoubtedly going to see examples of AirTags being used in nefarious ways that bundled together serve as the antithesis of one of these Apple Watch commercials. It may end up being a product defined by its gross shortcomings.

AirTags are not a complex product. They are small location beacons — everything that makes them effective for finding lost keys or a stolen bicycle makes them pretty effective for tracking someone’s whereabouts. How does any company correct the course of a product like that? An optional app is insufficient.