Tile CEO ‘Welcomes’ AirTag Competition But Thinks ‘It Needs to Be Fair’

BY Sanuj Bhatia

Published 4 May 2021

airtags vs tile vs samsung

Apple announced its first Bluetooth tracking device AirTag last month. Tile CEO CJ Prober has since expressed his concern about Apple entering the Bluetooth tracking ecosystem, saying that it’s good to have competition but ‘it needs to be fair.’

Bluetooth item trackers aren’t new — Tile has been making these trackers for well over seven years now. Even though Tile has been in the Bluetooth tracking space for so long, Apple AirTag has an unfair advantage in the form of Find My Network.

AirTag and Tile work on the same basis, when they are not in the vicinity of the users. In the ‘Lost’ mode, these trackers rely on other users to send the tracker’s location to the owner. But, Tile requires other users to have location turned on and the Tile app installed for it to send its location. Whereas, AirTag makes use of Apple’s vast Find My Network with millions of devices to relay its location.

Expressing his concern about the same, Tile CEO CJ Prober in an interview with Bloomberg, that he welcomes competition in the space, but, Apple’s tracker has an unfair advantage. Prober claims that Apple has been making it difficult for iOS users to configure Tile ‘properly’ since the company launched ‘Find My’ in 2019.

“We were highlighted at WWDC 2019, and then they launched ‌Find My‌ in 2019, and right when they launched their ‌Find My‌ app, which is effectively a competitor of Tile, they made a number of changes to their OS that made it very difficult for our customers to enable Tile. And then once they got it enabled, they started showing notifications that basically made it seem like Tile was broken.”

Prober is complaining about the changes Apple made in iOS 13 at WWDC 2019. Initially, with the launch of iOS 13, Apple made it difficult for users to ‘Always Allow’ location permission, hence making it difficult for users to configure Tile. Moreover, Prober says that Tile has been asking for access to the U1 chip in iPhones since its release, but Apple has been denying it.

And now, Apple has launched a tracker with an ultrawide-band chip which makes it convenient to track an AirTag.

“The main points of differentiation of ‌AirTags‌ vis a vis Tile are enabled by platform capabilities that we don’t have access to.”

Prober believes that Tile is “well-positioned” with a “super differentiated product” in the market, and says that it will be able to counter Apple due to the variety of trackers available.

“We have many form factors. You don’t need an accessory to attach it to your things. We’re louder, we’ve got better range. So we have a lot going for us. We feel good about our competitive position, but we don’t feel like we should be competing in the way we are with Apple. This is much broader than Tile, this is about long term consumer choice, innovation thriving, and lower prices. That’s why we’re being so vocal about this.”

To learn more about how these two trackers are different, check out our detailed AirTag vs Tile explainer.

[Via Bloomberg]