First, tiny packets piggy- backed through wifi/wireless carriers. Seamlessly sharing wifi passwords with friends.
Next, peer-peer downloads without any network. Specifically for sharing public, location sensitive, and cacheable data through UWB without any network involved. e.g. Apple Maps, Weather, News, Offline Translations, Stocks.
It seems even less likely Apple would expand the capability further, but maybe.
I hope they don’t open up the API though, or do a crazy good job to bake in privacy. It’ll be too easy to track people near each other. I’d be ok with an app permissions model of Wifi/Data XOR Mesh Data Transfer.
In your hypothetical, I'm curious how you'd see this comparing to Amazon Sidewalk in size?
Amazon seems to be roughly in the ballpark of 1 BB devices sold based on  and . Meanwhile, Apple seems to be in the ballpark of 3 BB devices sold (iOS + watchOS + macOS).
> I'm curious how you'd see this comparing to Amazon Sidewalk in size?
Their future growth curves (regarding devices "in the wild") are not very clear to me. Although, it seems to me devices stuck in homes (i.e. Amazon's), will be less effective at finding lost items, transferring data, etc; compared with devices that locomote with their humans (i.e. Apple's).
Ideally, I hope they create a standard and create a single giant network. After all, Ring data eventually needs to hit an iOS device.
Note: These are all legacy articles, so I did a reasonable projection. I'm probably overestimating for Amazon, and underestimating for Apple, but I have no idea.
e.g. Driving around a city. Many people have Apple Maps open, to navigate, and the maps data is already downloaded on Phone A. When Phone B starts Apple Maps (or auto-load it without opening the app) transfer the data from Phone A to Phone B (instead of using A or B's network). Continue the propagation for all phones C through Z. Eventually refresh Phone B's data through the network, transfer the data to Phone A. Its a symbiotic relationship for all the neighboring phones.
e.g. Traveling to a foreign country. Staying at a hostel/hotel. You need to download Offline Translations for "English to X". Someone else at the hotel, Phone A, has already downloaded it. When Phone B requests to download it (or auto-refresh it), Phone B gets the data from Phone A (without any online network access). Again symbiotic, because Phone A could have gotten it from some Phone Z, or downloaded the same data it would normally have.
The same types of scenarios work for Yelp style reviews and menus, Weather data, App downloads, etc. Any data that is public, location sensitive, and highly cacheable.
You could think of it as turning every iOS device into a Torrent seeder for certain data sets.
At most each phone is paying some extra battery life. Likely negligible given its just data transfer over UWB/BlueTooth, and made up for by using less battery life because of less network access at other times.
They don’t have to wipe out tile.
They've avoided selling their own HomeKit gear, they're licensing AirPlay to be put in TVs so people don't have to buy AppleTVs, and they stopped selling routers long ago. Even when it comes to dongles which everyone thinks Apple loves selling, they have a meager selection and have outsourced many of them (e.g. they don't have a first-party USB-C Ethernet dongle)
With the MFi Program, they still make lots of money on third-party products, without all of that costly R&D and support on their own end.
I was blown away when I plugged a full laptop USB C hub in to my iPad Air 4 and was able to use a USB keyboard, mouse and hdmi out.
Tile is planning to use Amazon Sidewalk: https://www.thetileapp.com/en-us/blog/announcing-tile-joins-...
Still, quite excited for new consumer accessories to support this.
To build on this for other than personal use, you would either need to purchase Find My microchips from someone who is in the MFi program, or you would need to join the program yourself if you intend to produce your own microchip implementation of Find My.
For personal use, Apple truly doesn’t care.
"OpenHaystack is a framework for tracking personal Bluetooth devices via Apple's massive Find My network. Use it to create your own tracking tags that you can append to physical objects (keyrings, backpacks, ...) or integrate it into other Bluetooth-capable devices such as notebooks."
Btw, your link didn't work for me, but I was able to find the page here: https://mfi.apple.com/en/faqs.html
BLE is not that young and and the contract tracing thing was executed extremely quickly and on the same technology (afaik, please correct).
Google would be best placed to present an open standard for android, at the risk of fragmentation or segmentation by the OEMs
Samsung seems the logical candidate to have the capability, on account of their broad broad product lineup.
That said, I’m not certain if Samsung has intentions to foster the association between their products and smaller companies in the eyes of consumers, like Apple does with its MFI program. Additionally Apple is quite happy to present products from companies it likes in their stores, something from my understanding which Samsung doesn’t do.
I see this feature becoming quite a common sight on higher value 3rd party products targeted towards the iOS market, at least initially.
If the “Find My” network, becomes popular among 3rd parties and customers, I suspect that any similar system that an android OEM or Google comes up with will have to be broadly similar in implementation to ease integration. Simply because they may not have the clout to get third parties to keep a special SKU just for your equipment.
There's the global network where everyone is sharing fixes though... oof I don't really even want to be part of that.
Why we developers like to be so optimistic about our own creations? I can definitely hack a lot of PoCs in short time if I don't have to care about security, other users and so on, the moment you start to introduce the real world into your little PoC is usually when a hack that took 1 day explodes into a months-long project. And for good reasons.
They remain serious about privacy, but there's still something invasive about it I think they've never done before and always seemed implicitly positioned against.
Meanwhile, I agree with you. It would be nice if Apple (or anyone) didn’t have this type of location information about me. However, it seems that ship has sailed and 5G + mesh networks will make it even more precise.
"The Find My network extends these capabilities by locating missing devices even if they can’t or don’t connect to the internet. The Find My network is a crowdsourced network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices that use Bluetooth wireless technology to detect missing devices or items nearby, and report their approximate location back to the owner. The entire process is end-to-end encrypted and anonymous, so no one else, not even Apple or the third-party manufacturer, can view a device’s location or information."
If yes, please do your research on what that term means.
> the Find My app itself or other device features almost certainly leack this information to Apple
I asked if there was any evidence pointing to this leakage, I'd like to know if it's happened before and I'm unaware of it.
The statements i recall strongly indicated that Apple was aware of many machine identifiers which would have been impossible to log otherwise such as the serial number of the system itself and other such revealing information.
If that is not convincing enough, there are plenty of tales of proprietary, unexposed APIs within the Apple stack itself that "ping home" with sensitive device information, the most recent example being one where any executable on a mac was deliberately blocked (a bug) until validated on Apples end.
If you are looking for a smoking gun, i'm afraid, i cannot provide that, and i apologize if that's what you took away from my comment.
On the other hand, as someone who understands software and the systems here, you may draw your own conclusions, given the two examples above on how hard it would be for someone at Apple, with a bit of motivation and access to do precisely this, ie, derive the information (inferred or direct) about device location through the find my app or other deeper layers of the stack where its stored, or, use the find my network to find devices such as MacBooks that they suspect were involved in activity their security teams dislike.
It seems like in order to show me where my missing item is, they have to be able to determine my device’s information. They might claim to choose not to do that correlation until I open the app and go looking, but once I do, it seems obvious that Apple can tell where my device is (in order that they can tell me where it is in their Find My app).
The part you're correct about is that as they control the device, there's nothing saying they can't build a backdoor into it that reports the information (ie. location) back to them once it hits your phone. And we're also taking it on trust that it works the way they say it works, as it's not open-source.
But as someone else commented, eventually you have to trust something.
It's possible in theory they could add hooks into the OS to then do that next time you use the key (e.g. effectively a baked in backdoor) or maybe in some cases the key can be extracted from an iCloud backup or similar (I'm not 100% sure how those keys are stored, but it's likely detailed in their security documentation) but in general the service itself cannot see the encrypted device location.
Find My-tracked devices emit a Bluetooth chirp. If any Internet-enabled iOS devices hears it, it forwards to iCloud/Apple backend.
I can lose a WiFi-only iPad, and it can be fully off any WiFi connection, and still get a ping on its location if its Bluetooth chirps get relayed by a stranger’s iPhone.
This exists now, for i.e. the offline iPad example. This larger launch extends the Find My network to a new class of Internet-less, long battery life tag devices.
"A nearby stranger's iPhone, with no interaction from its owner, will pick up the signal, check its own location, and encrypt that location data using the public key it picked up from the laptop."
This dialog makes it unclear whether the stranger has agency to turn this on or off.
My definition of privacy includes the ability to have NO traffic, while apple has a different definition.
I believe they do.
Looking at my iOS 14.5 settings, I can (1) turn off Find My completely, (2) turn off "Find My network" to opt out of the Find My network, and (3) turn off "Item Safety Alerts" that tell you when an unexpected item is travelling with you (and possibly being used to track you).
“It uses just tiny bits of data that piggyback on existing network traffic so there’s no need to worry about your battery life, your data usage, or your privacy.”
How do you piggyback on existing traffic without increasing it?
"No need to worry" doesn't equal 'zero bits transferred', but more like 'so little the impact is immeasurable to you'.
However, you only get a notification if you have an Apple device...so it's still possible to stalk someone using this technology if they're on Android.