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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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
9 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 item tracker

Tile Plans to Introduce Item Trackers With Ultra Wideband Support

Tuesday January 5, 2021 9:51 am PST by
Tile is poised to compete with Apple's long-rumored AirTags and is planning to introduce an upgraded series of item trackers that include an ultra wideband (UWB) chip for more precise tracking. Tile concept art for UWB tracker, via TechCrunch Apple's AirTags are rumored to include the U1 ultra wideband chip that has been added into the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models. Apple's U1 AirTags will...
airtag hermes

AirTag Hermès Currently Unavailable From Apple

Monday May 24, 2021 6:26 am PDT by
As reported by 9to5Mac, AirTag Hermès is currently unavailable for purchase from Apple or directly from the Hermès website. The reasoning behind the unavailability remains unknown. Apple's AirTags Hermès line features three separate styles, an AirTag with a Hermès keyring, bag charm, and luggage tag. All styles feature the standard AirTag with a removable backplate but engraved with...
tile1

Tile Launches New Premium Protect Plan That Offers $1000 in Lost Item Reimbursement

Wednesday September 9, 2020 10:24 am PDT by
As rumors about Apple's AirTags ramp up, AirTag competitor Tile is planning to launch a new "Premium Protect" service that will provide up to $1,000 to reimburse customers who subscribe for their lost items. Tile already has a premium plan that provides Smart Alerts when an item is left behind, free replacement batteries each year, and 30-day location history, but the $30 subscription...
Flurry Valentine Deal

Valentine's Day Deals: Save on AirPods, M1 MacBook Pro, iPad Air, and a Wide Variety of Apple Accessories

Friday February 5, 2021 7:03 am PST by
We're just over one week away from Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday, February 14 this year. Similar to years past, many third-party Apple resellers and accessory companies have opened up notable discounts on Apple products and accessories to coincide with the holiday. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Apple's New AirTags

Friday April 30, 2021 2:41 pm PDT by
After years of waiting for the AirTags to debut, launch day is finally upon us and AirTags are now in the hands of customers. We got our AirTags in the mail today and thought we'd share a hands-on look for those who are still waiting for their orders or debating whether AirTags might be useful. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. As you probably know by now, AirTags...
airtag 1

AirTag Anti-Stalking Measures 'Just Aren't Sufficient' Says Washington Post Report

Wednesday May 5, 2021 6:03 pm PDT by
The safeguards that Apple built into AirTags to prevent them from being used to track someone "just aren't sufficient," The Washington Post's Geoffrey Fowler said today in a report investigating how AirTags can be used for covert stalking. Fowler planted an AirTag on himself and teamed up with a colleague to be pretend stalked, and he came to the conclusion that the AirTags are a "new means...
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...

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
iphone 5g mmwave

U.S. Airlines Warn of 'Catastrophic' Crisis With Impending 5G Rollout, AT&T and Verizon Agree to Delay Around Airports

Tuesday January 18, 2022 10:35 am PST by
Verizon and AT&T's upcoming rollout of new C-Band 5G technology could cause chaos and lead to widespread delays of passenger and cargo flights, major U.S. airlines said on Monday in a letter sent to the White House National Economic Council, the FAA, and the FCC (via Reuters). "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially...
microsoft office icons

Microsoft Releases Office for Mac Update With Full Apple Silicon Support in Excel

Tuesday January 18, 2022 4:15 am PST by
Microsoft has released a new version of its Office for Mac productivity suite that includes an updated Excel app with 100% native support for Apple silicon machines. According to the release notes accompanying version 16.57, Excel will now run natively on Macs powered by Apple's M1-series processors without having to use the Rosetta 2 translation layer, which means anyone using a Mac with an ...
appleeducation

Apple's US Education Store Now Requires Institution Verification to Buy Discounted Products

Wednesday January 19, 2022 2:22 am PST by
Apple is now requiring that customers in the United States verify that they're active students, teachers, or staff members at an educational institution in order to access education discounts on products. Previously, little verification was needed for customers to purchase products through Apple's education store in the United States. Apple's education stores offer models of the iPad and Mac ...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID

Rumored iPhone 14 Pro Feature Delayed Until Next Year

Wednesday January 19, 2022 3:00 am PST by
Apple's long-rumored under-display Face ID technology will not be coming to the iPhone 14 Pro, according to recent reports. Based on the latest rumors, it now looks unlikely that the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max will feature Face ID technology under the display as several reports claimed over the past year. Display industry consultant Ross Young, who often reveals ...