Apple recently increased into the thing-tracking market with the AirTag, a small coin-cell battery-powered Bluetooth contraption that you can attach to your stuff and ping with your smartphone. The machination started shipping Friday, so of course, gadget teardown site iFixit has watched ahold of one and ripped it apart—and then took a power drill to it?!
Allied to with most Apple products, it looks like some unsmiling engineering went into the $29 tracker. The device is barely larger than the user-replaceable CR2032 battery that powers it, fix broadcast competing devices like the Tile and Samsung Galaxy SmartTags to outstrip with their comparative bulk. Inside, a single circuit put up uses a unique donut-shaped design that crams all the components into a enclosure under the battery.The hole in the middle of the circuit board lets Apple congregation in a surprisingly huge voice coil speaker. The speaker is just for merrymaking ringtones so you can find your AirTagged thing when you lose it, but plainly, the ringtones will be super high quality. For comparison, the Tile and Samsung trackers both use sale-priced little piezoelectric speakers for ringtone playback, which iFixit rightfully points out inclination be right at home in a “McDonald’s Happy Meal toy.” This speaker is upstanding for acoustic location, so anything that will make a shrill hullabaloo will work—Apple is just going for luxurious over-engineering.
The other precise Apple-like quality of the AirTag is that it almost seems designed to won over accessories. The most popular use for these trackers is to help find your car description, but out of the box, there is no way to attach a keychain to an AirTag. Instead, Apple has enabled a widespread off the mark ecosystem of AirTag cases ranging from a $13 keyring holder to a $449 (yes, that’s four hundred forty-nine dollars) Hermes’ gear tag.
iFixit’s solution to the much-demanded keyring hole is—what else—a power practise! The teardown experts found some suitable dead space incarcerated the AirTag that somehow isn’t blocked by either the battery, speaker, or circle board, and after some careful drilling, iFixit’s AirTag now has a keychain opening with the least possible bulk. “The AirTag survived the operation strain a champ and works as if nothing happened,” the site says. iFixit stood on to note that the sound profile “didn’t seem to change much,” but the IP67 dust and incredible resistance rating is now greatly compromised.
The site has helpfully marked out the safe-to-drill districts if you want to try this at home, with the understanding that you might block your $29 tracker if you mess the procedure up. Apple sells the AirTags in a $99 four-pack if you longing some practice.