In a daze, the AirTag, which had been transmitted over the Internet for a long time, was finally reflected in reality from the imagination.
There is a feeling that the American dramas that have been chasing for years are now over, there are happy and lonely. However, at this AirTag conference, the happy Apple users are the third-party hardware manufacturers who are lonely.
Tile, another small company stung by Apple
Apple held its 2021 spring conference on Tuesday, US time, at which it launched a new product, a coin-sized anti-lost device AirTag.
The next day, Tile, a brand that has been cultivating in the field of Bluetooth trackers for many years, attended a hearing. Sitting opposite was the representative of Apple. The former expressed his dissatisfaction with Apple’s launch of AirTag and raised improprieties against Apple at the same time. Complaint of competition.
Tile's entry into the field of Bluetooth trackers can be traced back to 2012, when Tile was just a crowdfunding brand. Through user support, Tile's first-generation products were mass-produced.
At first, each Tile tracker is an independent individual, and only the owner can know it. You can view the location of the tracker in the official App, use the Bluetooth feature to wake it up, and let it make a sound to remind people of its location.
Later, Tile added the Tile Network function, which introduced the concept of "Community Find". The wake-up function mentioned earlier is only applicable when the tracker is near you but not in your sight. What should I do if I lose it beyond the Bluetooth range of my mobile phone?
The Tile Network can come in handy. Thousands of Tile users can help you find it together. As long as a user passes by your tracker, Tile will receive this information and send its location to the owner’s App. Anonymous throughout.
Does it sound familiar? Apple’s AirTag “lost mode” works the same way. It detects the tracker through other devices and then reminds the user of its location.
On the official website of Tile, the introduction of Tile Network was first published on September 4, 2020, earlier than the release time of AirTag. So there is no dispute on the issue of "who launches this feature first".
CJ Prober, CEO of Tile, mentioned in an interview with Bloomberg that Apple launched the "Find My" app in 2019, and there have been feedback from Tile users that it has become difficult to use it on the iOS platform.
This implies that Apple participates in the competition through improper means.
He also mentioned:
Apple does not need to use its monopoly position (such as the App Store and iPhone) to gain unique advantages. On the contrary, they can provide these advantages to all companies so that we can compete in a fair environment.
This is obviously the U1 UWB positioning chip that Apple is vigorously promoting. Tile has contacted Apple about this technology before, but the latter has not been convinced by it.
When Apple AirTag was released, Apple licensed the U1 chip to Tile's competitor Chipolo.
This technology is used on the Chipolo ONE Spot item anti-lost device, which is very similar in form to AirTag. Therefore, Chipolo users can also track items directly through Find My app, which is functionally no different from AirTag.
This is what Prober is worried about.
So, in the face of AirTag's strong attack, what measures does Tile have to deal with?
Tile turned around and joined the Amazon camp, and will officially join the "Amazon Sidewalk" service on June 14.
This is a shared network service launched by Amazon in September last year. The principle is similar to that of Tile Network and Find My. It uses the Amazon Echo product and the Alexa ecosystem, which have a high penetration rate in the United States, to help find Tile trackers.
Curiosity drove me to flip through the relevant news about Tile and Sidewalk, and found that in fact, as early as the sidewalk service was released, Tile had already announced its participation , and at the time it stated that it would be officially integrated into the network by the end of 2020.
As a result, in April 2021, when AirTag came to the fore, the news of Tile joining the Sidewalk network went online again, and this time it was really moving.
In my eyes, Tile's image has changed from being a hero who is brave enough to fight against giants to become less stalwart. But I also saw the helplessness of small companies facing giant companies.
When large companies use the advantages established by their own barriers to combat competing products, how should competing products respond?
Tile chose to join the "enemy of the enemy", leveraging its strength, seeking a ray of life under the aegis of large companies; more companies may have to transform or even shut down.
Antitrust is always a topic in the free market
Last year, Epic released the advertisement of "Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite" . In the film, the character of Fortnite picked up a big axe and smashed it into the screen where the crowd was watching. On the screen was a "maggot apple" talking.
The inspiration for this film came from Apple's "1984", the dragon slayer in the original story, and now it has become the dragon in Epic's eyes.
Hedong for thirty years and Hexi for thirty years. Now the roles are reversed. We admire Apple's ability, and at the same time we cannot help asking: Is Apple really an evil dragon?
During Epic and Apple's tit-for-tat confrontation, both parties gave their own rhetoric and evidence.
Epic believes that when Fortnite players recharge in the Apple App Store, Apple has to withdraw 30% of the amount. The ratio is too high. It is a helpless move to speak on behalf of the oppressed developers and bypass the App Store’s in-app purchase mechanism. Therefore, being "blocked" by Apple is extremely unreasonable.
Apple said that it is just following the rules and following the rules of the App Store. If you want to do special things, this is unfair to other developers.
Regarding the antitrust lawsuit between Epic and Apple, there is no conclusion yet. At the court hearing held on May 4th, US time, the Epic team of lawyers led by Christine Varney presented a 65-page lawsuit accusing the defendant of imposing unreasonable restrictions on application distribution and illegally maintaining a complete monopoly.
After the two parties sit in the courtroom, we will follow up on what will happen in the end. However, from the current evidence chain provided by Epic, Apple is at a disadvantage, so this antitrust lawsuit may become a watershed in the future development of the App Store.
In the second quarter of this year, Apple’s services revenue reached US$16.901 billion. Although Apple did not separately display the revenue of the App Store, we don’t know the specific figures. However, it is estimated that this part of the revenue alone is already far away from many small companies. Unreachable goal anymore.
If Apple encounters Waterloo in this part of the business, it will inevitably have a huge impact on the entire software and hardware ecosystem.
Going back to the case of Tile, does Apple have a monopoly?
AirTag and Tile trackers do have many similarities in form and working principle. Once AirTag is launched, it will squeeze the living space of Tile, but this is a free market and competition is inevitable.
It is understandable that Apple uses the advantage of the iPhone’s market stock to allow consumers to choose AirTag that works better with the iPhone. Apple just uses its own ecology to provide users with a better experience.
Throughout the history of Apple's development, such cases abound.
Turn left turn right? Distress and opportunity coexist
If you have both a MacBook and an iPad, you have probably used the "Sidecar" function on macOS. Turn it on in the settings to turn your iPad into a secondary screen. The settings are simple and quick to respond. .
But before the Catalina system, if you want to implement similar functions on macOS, you need to download a software called Luna Display. With it, you can achieve the same function.
After the launch of the onboard function, users found that the function that used to cost money to download has now become the system's own. For consumers, it is like a free pie, but for Luna Display, it can be regarded as a disaster. .
Fortunately, this company is still alive.
In response to competition, Luna Display has introduced a small thing that looks like a wireless mouse receiver. You can connect it to your computer to turn an idle iPad into a second display.
▲Even become the main screen
In addition, some technologies or companies that Apple looks at will be directly acquired. For example, Workflow and Lighthouse, the former has become a "shortcut" in the iPhone, and the patent of the latter has become the cornerstone of the realization of Face ID.
So after the launch of AirTag, where should Tile and other similar products go?
The above has provided the reference answer, or transformation or seeking mergers and acquisitions, not to mention the dependence of such products and iOS has not yet reached the point of "coldness", you can find a way out in the Android camp.
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