Apple opens up global device location network to third-party manufacturers
If you misplace your iPhone, or someone makes off with it, Apple's Find My network can help zero in on its location so you can retrieve it. Now the application has been opened up to third-party products, and among the first are ebikes from VanMoof.
The Find My network leverages the reach of hundreds of millions of active Apple devices around the globe, using Bluetooth to detect wandering gadgets and allowing users to pinpoint their approximate location on a map, activate a remote lock, display a contact number onscreen and remote wipe data to keep private information private. The whole process is anonymous and employs end-to-end encryption.
"For more than a decade, our customers have relied on Find My to locate their missing or stolen Apple devices, all while protecting their privacy," says Apple's Bob Borchers. "Now we’re bringing the powerful finding capabilities of Find My, one of our most popular services, to more people with the Find My network accessory program. We’re thrilled to see how Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof are utilizing this technology, and can’t wait to see what other partners create."
Earlier in the week, Belkin launched the Soundform Freedom true-wireless earphones as one of the first third-party accessories able to make use of the Find My network. If the buds are misplaced nearby, users can use the Find My app to play a sound from the charging case. If that doesn't work, the earphones may be farther away so the user can put them in Lost Mode and use the app to tap into the wider network and track them down.
If you attach a Chipolo One Spot tag to items like house keys, luggage or gadgets upon its release in June, you'll also be able to access the Find My network to locate them. Riders of VanMoof's S3 and X3 ebikes can also add their two-wheelers to the new Items tab in the Find My app.
"We’re always striving to provide the very best end-to-end experience for our riders and we’re so proud to introduce our Find-My-enabled bikes as one of the first brands to join the Find My network accessory program, an achievement made possible by our talented in-house developers," said VanMoof's Job Stehmann. "It was an exciting opportunity that opens up new possibilities and ease of use for our riders worldwide."
The Find My third-party accessory program comes under the umbrella of Apple's Made for iPhone program, and companies wishing to jump aboard will need to ensure that their products "adhere to all the privacy protections of the Find My network that Apple customers rely on." Approved products will carry "Works with Apple Find My" badging.
Apple has also revealed that it's drafting a specification for third-party manufacturers that will enable them to make use of the ultra-wideband technology in Apple devices built around a U1 chip, for more precise location tracking when nearby.