Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers.

tile sticker e1570533758981
Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is disadvantaged on Apple's platform. Prober said that while Tile "welcomes competition," he doesn't feel that Apple is being fair.

Tile welcomes competition. We've been competing for 8 years with small companies to Fortune 50 companies, so we welcome competition from Apple, but we think it needs to be fair.

Prober claims that when Apple "launched" ‌Find My‌ in 2019, there were changes to iOS that made it harder for Tile to operate. Apple did release a unified ‌Find My‌ app in 2019, but has long had ‌Find My‌ iPhone and ‌Find My‌ Mac apps for devices.

If you look at the history between Tile and Apple, we had a very symbiotic relationship. They sold Tile in their stores, 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 talking about changes that Apple made to location services permissions. For privacy purposes, Apple stopped making it easy for apps to get permanent access to a user's location. Apps in iOS 13 were not initially allowed to present an "Always Allow" option when requesting location access, and the feature had to be enabled in the Settings app. Apple also started sending regular reminders to customers letting them know their location was being used.

Tile was not happy with these privacy changes and that privacy tweak set Tile against Apple, with Tile in 2019 calling on Congress to "level the playing field."

Prober said that Apple has now launched a Tile competitor that has access to platform capabilities that Tile cannot access, referencing seamless activation and Ultra Wideband technology.

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

Apple has, in fact, launched the ‌Find My‌ network that gives third-party accessories some of the same access that ‌AirTags‌ have, and ‌Find My‌ network accessories will be able to access the U1 chip in the iPhone 11 and 12 models much like the ‌AirTags‌, but Tile won't be able to use the ‌Find My‌ network unless it abandons its own app and infrastructure, which it is likely unwilling to do.

Prober said that Tile has been "seeking to access" the U1 chip since its introduction in the ‌iPhone‌, and has been denied.

It's too early to tell whether Tile's sales will be impacted by AirTag, but Prober says that Tile is "well-positioned" with a "super differentiated product" that's available across platform and in many form factors. He suggested Tile has several benefits over ‌AirTags‌.

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.

According to Prober, Apple could take the advantages that it has on its platform and make them available to everyone for a more level competitive playing field. He called for legislation to allow for innovation and competition. "We should be competing fairly and no excessive taxes on developers," he said.

Prober's full interview can be watched over at Bloomberg.

Top Rated Comments

IAmGLaDOS Avatar
15 months ago
My God. They literally have access to use the Find My network. What more do they want Apple to do?
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LawJolla Avatar
15 months ago
Many of you fall for the illusion of competition. There's no competition. It's predatory.

Tile has a non choice. It can keep its own network and stay off Find My. But Apple won't give Tile the keys to have their network be as robust as Find My. E.g., they could figure out a solution to extend the iPhone/BluetoothLE pings for Tile's network, but they wont.

So then Tile's forced off their network onto Find My. But once on Find My, Apple products are again privileged with special abilities.

I'm not arguing Tile on the merits. Maybe it's the best product on Earth, maybe it's the worst. I don't care. The point is they can't build the best product because of Apple's 3rd party restrictions.

And if your response is "if you don't like it, go build your own cell phone company!", that argument is reductionist and absurd.

I love Apple as much as the next, but they are behaving as a cartel.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Serban55 Avatar
15 months ago
Apple opened the find my network...what more do you want to be fair?? For apple to make you a revolutionary product like iphone??
U1 chip? maybe you want the entire Apple company...
Stop crying...you HAD the TIME to bring something until now...you didnt..now you cry because Apple is coming with some useful device for the ecosystem ?
Jesus, no one is growing up these days ?! Samsung is crying, Tile is crying...Microsoft and Intel makes childish ads..
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
countryside Avatar
15 months ago
I am getting sick and tired of this entitlement from these developers. I am very scared that the precious walled garden I love is going away soon... not good. :(
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsplusmacs Avatar
15 months ago
Fair = giving Tile all the same advantages and still whining to the press for marketing purposes.


Follow the money... Tile subscriptions will decrease.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
G5isAlive Avatar
15 months ago
I don't know about whether Apple has an unfair competitive advantage or not. What I do know is I was an earlier adopter of Tiles and gave up on them after poor performance issues and how it interfered with my regular bluetooth operations. So for me, Tile competed against itself, and lost. I picked up some airtags and much prefer them. So I see why Tile is scared. Stop giving money to lawyers Tile, start investing in making a better product.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

tile amazon sidewalk integration

Apple Says Tile Trackers Sold Poorly in Apple Stores

Friday May 14, 2021 4:53 am PDT by
Earlier last month, Spotify, Tile, and Match (owner of Tinder), testified at an app store antitrust hearing spearheaded by the U.S. Senate. During the hearing, Spotify called Apple's App Store "an abusive power grab," while Tile said Apple uses its platform to "unfairly limit competition for its products." Now, in response to their testimonies, Apple's vice president and chief compliance...
airtag android 1

Apple Releases 'Tracker Detect' App to Prevent Android Users From Being Tracked by AirTags

Monday December 13, 2021 10:44 am PST by
Apple today released a new "Tracker Detect" app on the Google Play Store, with the app designed to allow Android users to locate AirTags that might be nearby. According to the app's description, Tracker Detect looks for item trackers that are separated from their owner and that are compatible with the Find My Network, so it will locate AirTags and other Find My-enabled devices like the...
life360 app

Tile Buyer Life360 Selling Precise Location Data on Millions of Users [Updated]

Monday December 6, 2021 1:05 pm PST by
Location tracking service Life360 has been selling the precise location data of tens of millions of its users, according to a new report shared by The Markup. Life360 bills itself as a "family safety platform" app that is meant to allow family members to keep tabs on one another with tracking software that's installed on smartphones, and there are both Android and iPhone apps. The...
f1618938547

Apple Began Preparing for AirTag Regulatory Approval Nearly Two Years Ago

Friday April 23, 2021 1:59 pm PDT by
FCC filings for Apple's newly released AirTags have revealed that the Cupertino tech giant began regulatory testing and preparing to seek regulatory approval for the product nearly two years before they were officially announced. A series of documents submitted to the Federal Communications Commission indicate that AirTag underwent testing for official certification between July and...
tile image 220

Tile Unhappy With Apple's AirTag Launch, 'Skeptical' About Fair Competition and Plans to Tattle to Congress

Tuesday April 20, 2021 12:32 pm PDT by
Just hours after Apple unveiled its long-awaited AirTag, Tile CEO CJ Prober released a statement expressing his concerns about competition in the item tracking arena. As relayed by TechCrunch, Prober said that while Tile welcomes "fair competition," the company is "skeptical" about Apple's aims, given its "history of using platform advantage to unfairly limit competition." Tile plans to...
AirTag is Linked to Apple ID Feature

Apple Announces AirTag Updates to Address Unwanted Tracking

Thursday February 10, 2022 9:58 am PST by
Apple today announced that it is making some updates to AirTags with the aim of cutting down on unwanted tracking. There are several changes that will be implemented in a multi-phase rollout. In an upcoming software update, Apple plans to implement new privacy warnings that will show up during AirTag setup to thwart malicious use. The warning will make it clear that the AirTag is linked to...
find my test app 1

Apple's Third-Party Find My Accessory Program Gets Closer to Launch With New Test App

Tuesday April 6, 2021 11:06 am PDT by
Apple is getting closer to launching the third-party program that will allow item trackers and other Bluetooth devices to be tracked using the Find My app, based on the launch of a new app. As noted by TechCrunch, Apple Sunday introduced the Find My Certification Asst. app, which was created exclusively for Made for iPhone (MFi) licensees who need to test their accessories with the Find My...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Tile to Leverage Amazon Echo and Ring Devices to Better Compete With AirTags

Friday May 7, 2021 2:07 pm PDT by
Amazon today announced that it is teaming up with Tile to add Amazon Sidewalk integration to Tile's Bluetooth trackers. Amazon Sidewalk, for those unfamiliar, is a network of Amazon Bluetooth devices that's designed to improve the connectivity of devices like the Ring and Amazon Echo. Tile will now be joining Amazon Sidewalk, and through this integration, Amazon Echo and Ring devices will be ...

Popular Stories

widgets ios 16 feature

Gurman: iPhone 14 Pro to Feature Always-On Display Showing iOS 16's New Lock Screen Widgets

Sunday June 26, 2022 7:36 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro models are widely expected to feature always-on displays that allow users to view glanceable information without having to tap to wake the screen. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman said the feature will include support for iOS 16's new Lock screen widgets for weather, fitness, and more. "Like the Apple Watch, the iPhone 14 Pro will be...
maxresdefault

M2 13-Inch MacBook Pro With 256GB SSD Appears Slower Than Equivalent M1 in Real-World Speed Tests

Monday June 27, 2022 1:57 pm PDT by
Benchmark testing has indicated that the 256GB variant of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 chip offers slower SSD performance than its M1 equivalent, and now real-world stress testing by YouTuber Max Yuryev of Max Tech suggests that the 256GB SSD in the 13-inch MacBook Pro is also underperforming in day-to day-usage. The M2 MacBook Pro with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM was slower than the M1 MacBook ...
13 inch macbook pro m2 mock feature 2

Base 13-Inch MacBook Pro With M2 Chip Has Significantly Slower SSD Speeds

Sunday June 26, 2022 2:52 pm PDT by
Following the launch of Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip, it has been discovered that the $1,299 base model with 256GB of storage has significantly slower SSD read/write speeds compared to the equivalent previous-generation model. YouTube channels such as Max Tech and Created Tech tested the 256GB model with Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test app and found that the SSD's read and...
m2 mac mini screen feature

Gurman: Apple Planning M2 Pro Mac Mini, New Apple TV With A14 Chip, Revamped HomePod With S8 Chip, and More

Sunday June 26, 2022 6:31 am PDT by
In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman outlined additional M2 Macs on Apple's product roadmap, including new Mac mini models with M2 and M2 Pro chips, new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, and a new Mac Pro tower with M2 Ultra and "M2 Extreme" chips. Following the M2 series of Macs, Gurman said the first M3 series of...
M2 Pro and Max Feature

Apple's Upcoming M2 Pro Chip for High-End MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Will Reportedly Be 3nm

Monday June 27, 2022 7:31 am PDT by
TSMC will manufacture Apple's upcoming "M2 Pro" and "M3" chips based on its 3nm process, according to Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes. "Apple reportedly has booked TSMC capacity for its upcoming 3nm M3 and M2 Pro processors," said DigiTimes, in a report focused on competition between chipmakers like TSMC and Samsung to secure 3nm chip orders. As expected, the report said TSMC will...
iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro vs. 14 Pro: New Features to Expect if You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday June 27, 2022 11:22 am PDT by
With many customers choosing to upgrade their iPhone every two or three years nowadays, there are lots of iPhone 11 Pro users who might be interested in upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro later this year. Those people are in for a treat, as three years of iPhone generations equals a long list of new features and changes to look forward to. Below, we've put together a list of new features and...
tesla carplay hack

Tesla Apple CarPlay Hack Updated to Work With Any Tesla Model

Monday June 27, 2022 3:38 am PDT by
Polish developer Michał Gapiński has released a new and improved version of his "Tesla Android Project" which brings Apple's CarPlay experience to more Tesla vehicles than ever before. According to Gapiński, version 2022.25.1 provides "100% functional CarPlay integration for any Tesla," and comes with several new features and bug fixes. The project now supports DRM video playback so that...
2022 back to school apple

Apple Launches 2022 Back to School Offer: Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Friday June 24, 2022 5:08 am PDT by
Apple today launched its annual "Back to School" promotion for college/university students in the United States and Canada. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad, rather than free AirPods like last year. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans during the promotion. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with the purchase ...