Apple Intelligence tipped to feature Google Gemini integration at launch, as well as ChatGPT

At WWDC 2024, Apple confirmed that its upcoming Apple Intelligence toolset will feature integration with ChatGPT to help field user queries that Siri can’t handle on its own, and now we’re hearing that a second third-party chatbot could be added to the mix.

According to Bloomberg’s resident Apple expert Mark Gurman, Google Gemini could join ChatGPT as one of two Siri-compatible chatbot options in Apple Intelligence. This integration could see iPhone, iPad and MacBook users given the option to use the cloud-based powers of ChatGPT or Google Gemini when Siri is unable to answer a query on-device.

Apple will reportedly announce its collaboration with Google “this fall” (aka September), which aligns with the assumed launch of Apple Intelligence, iOS 18 and the iPhone 16 line.

Rumors surrounding a partnership between Apple and Google have been swirling for some time now, but many tech commentators – including TechRadar’s own Lance Ulanoff – doubted its authenticity owing to Apple’s historic reluctance to bring parity between the best iPhones and best Android phones.

A hand holding an iPhone showing the new Siri

Siri could soon feature integration with ChatGPT and Google Gemini  (Image credit: Apple)

Ulanoff wrote back in March: “Apple's goal with the iPhone 16, iOS 18, and future iPhones is to differentiate its products from Android phones. It wants people to switch and they'll only do that if they see a tangible benefit. If the generative tools on the iPhone are the same as you can get on the Google Pixel 8 Pro (and 9) or Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (and S25 Ultra), why switch?”

It’s a valid question, but perhaps Apple sees its additional (and so far unique) partnership with ChatGPT as the USP of its new and upcoming devices. 

There’s also the question of revenue to consider. Gurman recently reported that Apple’s “long-term plan is to make money off Apple Intelligence”, with the company keen to “get a cut of the subscription revenue from every AI partner that it brings onboard.”

It seems likely, then, that Apple will launch a paid version of Apple Intelligence which incorporates the premium, fee-paying features of ChatGPT and Google Gemini, respectively. 

Incidentally, Gurman also reports that Apple had brief conversations with Meta about incorporating its Llama chatbot into Apple Intelligence, but the iPhone maker allegedly decided against a partnership due to privacy concerns and a preference for Google’s superior AI technology.

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macOS Sequoia has yet another cool feature to look forward to, this time adding a way to customize your AirPods Audio experience

It seems like every day, there is a new macOS Sequoia feature to look forward to, or some kind of improvement in Apple’s incoming OS, with a freshly spotted one opening up the doors to improved accessibility on the audio front.

MacRumors has been busy playing with the macOS 15 developer beta and discovered this new functionality in System Settings. Under Headphone Accommodations (in Accessibility > Audio), you can tweak the sound for your AirPods and some Beats headphones. 

The settings therein let you amplify softer sounds – to make them more easily heard – and change the audio output frequencies to make your music, phone calls, and more clearer sounding (or at least that’s the idea). From what we can tell, the new settings you run with will carry over when using your AirPods on devices other than your Mac. 

This could be a really useful feature for those who are hard of hearing to some degree, and it’s an ability that has been on iOS devices for some time. So, while it’s undoubtedly a very commendable step forward for accessibility with macOS, some folks out there are wondering why it took so long to bring this functionality across to the Mac.

Still, we’re glad to see it’s arriving, and in the run-up to the release of macOS Sequoia, we’re seeing a lot of new and interesting features and tweaks pop up that seem to be popular. 

A recent example is the fix for the annoying storage issue Mac users have to deal with when it comes to downloading apps, as well as the more anticipated changes like iPhone mirroring and a plethora of AI features powered by Apple Intelligence.

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Meta Quest 3’s next update steals the Vision Pro’s best productivity feature… kinda

The Meta Quest 3 looks set to be taking yet another step towards being an Apple Vision Pro that doesn’t cost $ 3,499 / £3,499 / AU$ 5,999, by taking yet another feature from the Apple headset for itself.

This time it's a new window layout style, though it’s not really fair to say Meta is stealing this idea from Apple, merely improving its current approach. Rather than simply having three 2D apps docked side by side in fixed positions (which is what is currently possible on the Meta Quest 3 and other Meta headsets), you can now have three windows that are freely placeable anywhere in your virtual home office, and another three docked – making a total of six.

The experimental setting has been unlocked as part of the HoizonOS v67 update which is currently in beta for members of the Meta Quest Public Test Channel. Clips of people testing it out also show users switching the windows between curved and flat, as well as a feature that can lower the brightness of 2D environments – though this doesn’t work if you’re using the windows in mixed reality with passthrough.

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While this does bring the Quest 3 closer to matching the Vision Pro’s approach to 2D apps in a 3D space, it’s not quite one-to-one yet. The biggest difference is if you stray too far from a window it returns to its default docked position on the Quest 3 – whereas on Vision Pro you can leave windows in their custom floating positions indefinitely like they’re real objects.

That said, it’s also worth noting the Meta Quest 3 only costs $ 499.99 / £479.99 / AU$ 799.99, so it’s forgiven for not being a direct copy.

A closing gap

The Apple Vision Pro will always be better than the Meta Quest 3 on a technical level with its vastly better displays and chipset. But Apple hasn’t done enough to leverage its advantages in ways that matter, but that was probably always going to be the case.

The Vision Pro with its eye-tracking, laptop-level power, focus on less active XR experiences, and approach to hand-tracking offers app developers a vast array of tools to create interesting software for the device. 

However, what makes the headset unique is also its downfall – it’s too dissimilar to its rivals. If you make a VR app that takes full advantage of the Vision Pro it probably won’t be well suited to other platforms (and vice versa). So if you’re weighing up your options, making a non-Vision Pro app just makes more financial sense as it can run on more popular platforms; that is, unless Apple is offering some kind of financial incentive.

A Meta Quest 3 user throwing a giant die onto a virtual medieval tabletop game board full of castles, wizards and knights

Demeo is great, but the Apple Vision Pro needed more than this (Image credit: Meta)

Some classic VR games and apps have started to get Vision Pro ports, but they are in small numbers and have trickled in months after the headset launched and the hype has died down.

Instead, most of the apps that it can run are XR versions of iPad and Mac apps which begs the question of what you really gain from buying a Vision Pro – especially as you likely already have those other gadgets, or could buy them for less than the cost of Apple’s headset.

Meta on the other hand has continued to fund exciting exclusive apps – we’re getting a bonafide Batman: Arkham game to name a recent example. At the same time, it's rolling out monthly major software updates that have only narrowed the gap between the Vision Pro and Quest 3.

We’ll have to wait and see how things continue the rest of the year and beyond, but my advice remains the same as it always has: if you want to try VR then get a Quest 3 or Quest 2 – there’s no good reason to get a Vision Pro instead.

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Windows 11’s controversial Recall feature hasn’t just been ditched from Copilot+ PCs – Microsoft’s reportedly stripped it out of test builds of the OS

Microsoft has seemingly pulled its Recall feature – the AI-powered search that screenshots your PC activity and has caused controversy aplenty – not just from Copilot+ PCs at launch, but now from Windows 11 test builds, too.

If you cast your mind back to a week ago, June 14, Microsoft came forth with an announcement that Recall had been withdrawn from Copilot+ PCs, where it was supposed to be in ‘preview’ at launch, and would instead be available to preview in the “Windows Insider Program (WIP) in the coming weeks.”

In other words, Windows test builds – but of course, the mention of the ‘coming weeks’ suggests that testing of the feature won’t happen immediately in the Canary channel (or other preview channels for that matter).

Still, as Tom’s Hardware observes, Recall functionality was present in build 26236 in the Canary channel – with well-known leaker Albacore uncovering new pieces of functionality – and then, on the day of the launch of Copilot+ PCs, that build had its rollout paused by Microsoft.

Following that, build 26241 emerged in Canary testing, and as Tom’s makes clear, it has no sign of the Recall feature – it has all been stripped out.

Analysis: Recall won’t be ready until it’s ready – and that’s a good thing

Really, then, this is to be expected. As we noted above, Microsoft has said Recall is going into testing, but only in the coming weeks, hinting it’s still a little way off reaching that point. But it’s still interesting to see that Microsoft has stripped it out completely in the Canary channel, after pausing the preview build which had the feature (albeit with changes discovered by Albacore that were hidden in the background).

To us, this indicates that it might be a bit more of a long haul than Microsoft suggests for Recall actually going live even in test builds of Windows 11. But frankly – if this turns out to be the case – we think that’s something to be grateful for, being very much of the opinion that Recall likely isn’t remotely ready yet.

If Microsoft is taking the time to pull it completely, and really get the Recall house in order, before deploying it to Windows 11 testers, that’s a good sign. It’s a kingpin AI feature for Copilot+ PCs, after all, so Microsoft needs to get Recall right, and if that takes time, all well and good as far as we’re concerned.

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Meta secretly delayed my most anticipated Quest 3 feature, and we finally know why

When the Meta Quest 3 was unveiled I was impressed by a lot of what it had to offer in both the virtual- and mixed-reality departments, but by far the most interesting feature was Augments – persistent MR elements that you can use to decorate your home. As we approach the one-year mark since the headset was unveiled, Meta’s CTO has finally explained why Augments haven’t launched yet.

If you've forgotten about Augments, the concept is they’re a mixture of functional and visual mixed-reality decorations. Some are just meant to look pretty or offer basic functions, like a clock, while others act as portals to your favorite games or quick access to your favorite apps. You can see a version of them in your VR Meta Home as the little pod that launches First Encounters.

When the Quest 3 was first shown off back in September 2023 at Meta Connect 2023 we saw a little of what Augments would offer, and a promise that they’d launch in the not-too-distant future. Now Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s CTO, has revealed on Instagram that back in January Meta “decided it wasn’t good enough,” and so the team decided “to go back to the drawing board.”

Bosworth explained that Augments felt too much like a toy rather than living up to what Meta felt it had promised and wanted to deliver. However, in order to improve the feature it needed to start from scratch with a “completely different technical architecture.”

As a result the feature has been delayed, and Bosworth didn’t provide any kind of timeline for when we might eventually see Augments in action.

With September’s Meta Connect 2024 fast approaching there’s a small chance we’ll see the feature again there, but I hope the next time we see Augments is when Meta is actually ready to it to the public.

A Meta Quest 3 user throwing a giant die onto a virtual medieval tabletop game board full of castles, wizards and knights

Mixed reality is good, but Augments could make it better (Image credit: Meta)

Over-promise, under-deliver 

Meta is developing a worrying habit of teasing updates and hyping up features that it then takes way longer than expected to release, or which don’t live up to expectations.

Augments are the latest example, but we’ve seen it take a year to roll out virtual legs, and oversell the metaverse way ahead of when it could feasibly work as described, while hardware-wise the Meta Quest Pro wound up being a disappointment compared with more budget-friendly offerings like the Quest 3 that launched not long after – with software like Batman: Arkham Shadow being released as a Quest 3 exclusive and skipping the Pro.

I think Meta is also doing a lot of exciting things in the XR space (a catchall for VR, AR and MR); it recently made Horizon OS available to third-party hardware makers, and I love that it gets frequent software improvements. But its errors stick out and if they persist it’ll be a challenge to trust the announcements Meta makes until the product is actually in people’s hands – either physically or virtually.

Going into Meta Connect 2024 I hope Meta takes on board the lessons it's learned over the past couple of years, and as we go beyond the press conference I’d like to see it be more open with its plans, and with obstacles it faces. Setbacks happen, but if a major feature is getting delayed maybe let us know when that decision is made, rather than leaving us in the dark for months.

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Microsoft quietly updates controversial Windows 11 Recall feature – but not with the changes that are really needed

Microsoft’s flagship AI feature for Copilot+ PCs, Recall, has been through the wringer lately, and at the risk of sounding like a hater – rightfully so.

In case you missed it, Recall takes screenshots every few seconds, building up a library of images you can search via AI, but the feature has some serious issues on the privacy front, to the point that the launch of Recall was pulled and banished back to the Windows Insider Program for further testing.

However, that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from quietly adding new features to Recall as the tech giant runs damage control around this whole controversy.

As discovered by well-known leaker Albacore, writing for Tom’s Hardware (via Neowin), there are a few new chunky bits of functionality hidden away in the latest Windows 11 preview build (in the Canary channel).

One of those is ‘screenray’ which is a utility that’ll pop up to analyze what’s currently on the screen. It’s summoned via a keyboard shortcut and allows the user to get extra information from Copilot about anything present on-screen, or access a translation for something in a foreign language.

Windows Recall screenshot

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware )

While we have a limited understanding of the exact nature of this new tool, it does seem similar to the Reader feature in Safari that Apple introduced during WWDC – which leverages Apple Intelligence to scan a web page and translate, summarize, or add insight to whatever content is currently being browsed. Of course, Windows 11’s Recall tool is available across your entire system, not just in a browser.

Alongside this, Microsoft has implemented a revamped homepage design for Windows 11’s Recall feature. This means that when you fire up Recall, instead of being presented with a new snapshot, you get a grid of recent snapshots (there’s still a button to allow you to create a new snapshot – this just doesn’t happen by default anymore).

Also new is a ‘Topic’ section that organizes snapshots by themes, so you can group together related screenshots (for, say, Spotify) to make for easier searching.

Windows Recall screenshot

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware )

Finally, Windows Recall also has better integration with Copilot in this new preview build. Clicking on a snapshot will produce a drop-down menu with context-sensitive choices, so you can get Copilot to copy something, open it in an app, or if it’s an image, find pictures in the same vein, or create a similar image. All the standard Copilot options, essentially.

While these new additions to the controversial feature seem useful, I’m finding it hard to get past how bizarre the whole feature feels in the first place. I’m sure I won’t be the only one, either, and with all the concerns raised about Recall in recent times, Microsoft has a lot of work to do. It’ll definitely take a lot more to get me on board than a homepage redesign and this new screenray functionality.

For now, Windows Recall lives in the Windows Insider Program, where it’ll be tinkered with and tested for quite some time, most likely, before Microsoft dares try to launch it again. Whatever happens, when the feature hits release, Microsoft needs to make sure it gets things right this time around, and that means working on privacy and security as an absolute priority.

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Microsoft’s embarrassment over Recall fiasco gets worse as Windows 11 feature becomes the butt of Apple exec’s joke

Apple has the proverbial knives out for Microsoft when it comes to AI, landing a blow over the recent backtracking with Windows 11’s Recall feature for Copilot+ PCs.

You’ll likely have seen that Microsoft has had a turbulent time with Recall since announcing the feature, which takes regular screenshots of the activity on your PC to concoct a timeline searchable via AI – a powerful ability no doubt, but one which raised a whole bunch of security and privacy question marks. So much so that Microsoft pulled Recall from the launch of Copilot+ PCs, and put it back into testing for now.

In a video clip from WWDC 24 – which yes, was last week, but this footage only just surfaced on X – an Apple exec pulled no punches when the subject of Windows 11’s Recall feature came up.

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John Gruber (a well-known Apple pundit of Daring Fireball fame) asked a question about whether Microsoft’s mistakes with the initial incarnation of Recall are frustrating to Apple, as it tries to build trust in its own AI product (Apple Intelligence).

Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing, Greg ‘Joz’ Joswiak, is in like a flash to clarify if Gruber means: “Are we pressured by the failings of our competitors?”

That gets a big laugh, and Joswiak follows up with: “The answer’s no.”

Analysis: Making the most of Microsoft’s mistakes

It’s not a surprise for Apple to land such a marketing blow, as Microsoft has very much left its guard down and is an open target right now in terms of its AI ambitions.

Microsoft making such a misstep with its key AI feature for Copilot+ PCs – Recall is the ace in its Windows 11 artificial intelligence pack – is pretty embarrassing. However, we are glad Microsoft has taken ownership of these mistakes and is attempting to rectify them – although it doesn't really have a choice not to. There wasn’t realistically any other way forward.

Gruber does make a serious point about how this could be damaging for the public trust in all manifestations of AI, though, even if Joswiak completely deflects that concern.

Fortunately for Apple, the company laid out its stall regarding tight security and privacy emphatically with Apple Intelligence. That includes keeping as much processing as possible on-device for AI workloads, and for tasks that need more muscle and are sent online, they go to custom-built Apple servers featuring a hardened OS, and contents not even the company itself can see (with your data being ‘cryptographically destroyed’ after the AI query is dealt with).

So, in some ways this is great timing for Apple, in terms of the revelation of Apple Intelligence, and explanation of how it’s watertight for security, while Microsoft appears to be blundering around with Recall.

And while we get Gruber’s point about wider trust issues, the hard reality is that AI is coming, and we don’t see this particular juggernaut losing momentum – and if Apple is positioned as the company to trust, the one that won’t play fast and loose with your data, that’s going to be a very comfortable position to occupy among the tech giants out there.

Via Windows Central

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Windows 11’s Recall feature could pack a handy time-saving web search ability that might be less controversial (for a change)

Windows 11’s Recall feature has been causing controversy recently, so much so that Microsoft has actually halted the feature in its tracks (for now) – but a new discovery won’t fan any of those particular flames. In fact, it could well prove useful for those who eventually take the plunge with the now-delayed AI-powered functionality.

As discovered in the new preview build 26236 for Windows 11 (in the Canary channel) by regular leaker @PhantomofEarth on X, the new addition to Recall – which is still hidden in testing – is a ‘Search the web’ option.

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To recap, Recall is an AI feature specifically designed for Copilot+ PCs which regularly takes screenshots of the activity on your PC, files them in a library, and makes this searchable via Microsoft’s Copilot AI in Windows.

The new ‘Search the web’ facility allows the user to right-click on any text detected in a screenshot taken by Recall, and it’ll fire up a search on that selected text (in the user’s default search engine, presumably – though we don’t get to see the feature in action).

The ‘Search the web’ option is present in Recall’s right-click menu (in a snapshot) alongside the ‘Copy’ and ‘Open with’ options.

New AI settings in Windows 11

X user @alex290292 commented on @PhantomofEarth’s post with another interesting observation that there are also new AI-related settings in this Windows 11 preview build.

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These are in the Settings app, under ‘Privacy & Security’ where there’s a ‘Generative AI’ panel that allows for the fine-tuning of which apps are allowed to use generative AI capabilities. Apparently, you’ll also be able to review the last seven days of activity to see which apps requested to use generative AI.

To be able to see all of this for yourself, you’ll have to install the preview build and use a Windows configuration tool (ViVeTool) to enable ‘hidden’ Windows 11 features – not something we’d recommend for anyone but a keen enthusiast who’s comfortable with tinkering around in test builds.


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Microsoft dumps Windows 11 Recall feature from Copilot+ PCs at launch – an embarrassing turn of events, but ultimately for the best

In a very surprising move – albeit the right one, in our books – Microsoft has pulled the rug on its big Recall feature, so it now won’t launch as planned with Copliot+ PCs.

Microsoft just issued an update on Recall (hat tip to Tom’s Hardware) as follows: “Recall will now shift from a preview experience broadly available for Copilot+ PCs on June 18, 2024, to a preview available first in the Windows Insider Program (WIP) in the coming weeks.

“Following receiving feedback on Recall from our Windows Insider Community, as we typically do, we plan to make Recall (preview) available for all Copilot+ PCs coming soon.”

To recap briefly, Recall is the feature which constantly takes screenshots of the activity on the host PC, allowing the user to search these leveraging AI (Copilot), offering an undoubtedly powerfully ramped up search experience.

But there have been issues aplenty raised around Recall before its (now canceled) launch, and much controversy stirred by those who have fudged their Windows 11 installation to enable and test the feature.

So, as noted in Microsoft’s statement, the expectation was very much that Recall would be live next week, when Copilot+ PCs finally emerge blinking in the sunlight, but that will no longer be the case.

Instead, Microsoft is going to have the Recall preview made available to testers in early builds of Windows 11 in the “coming weeks,” and there’s the second major admission here. That makes it sound like testers won’t be getting the feature to play with next week, let alone buyers of Copilot+ PCs, and it may be some weeks before it arrives in whatever preview channel Microsoft deploys Recall.

In short, Microsoft isn’t sure whether Recall will even be ready for testing any time soon.

Person with a laptop

(Image credit: / ImYanis)

Analysis: A major setback, but still the right decision

This has all been a bit of a fiasco, frankly. Microsoft announced Recall with a big fanfare for Copilot+ PCs, then proceeded to batten down the hatches as flak and doubts were fired at the feature left, right, and center. Defensiveness and evasion gave way to big changes being implemented for Recall to shore up security in the light of all the negative feedback, and also ensuring it’s turned off by default (something we argued strongly for).

Now, even after that, it’s been canned for the time being, at least for Copilot+ PCs. It’s not a good look, is it? It feels like Microsoft has been taken aback by all the salvoes fired at Recall by security researchers, rushed to implement some hefty changes, realized that there isn’t time to do all this properly – Copilot+ PCs are almost upon us – so put the full launch on ice to go back to testing.

There’s no doubting that this will be damaging to Copilot+ PCs to some extent. These are AI PCs, after all, and Windows 11’s key feature for them was Recall – there is other AI functionality for these devices, but nothing on the same scale. Just look at Dell’s Copilot+ PC web page, and how it’s built around Recall – it’s the key piece of the AI puzzle, and now it’s missing.

However, we’re glad Microsoft has taken the PR hit here, as it were, and pulled Recall, rather than putting its head down and trying to forge through with the feature. That would have proved even more damaging, most likely, so we understand, and approve of this move in the end.

Honestly, though, we don’t think Recall – given that it’s a sensitive and tricky piece of AI functionality with all those privacy and security aspects – should be pushed out to finished versions of Windows as a ‘preview’ at all. This should be done, dusted, tight and secure, before leaving testing – shouldn’t it?

Speaking of tight and secure, this is especially bad timing for Microsoft, given that Apple Intelligence was just unveiled, with the rival AI offering looking super-sharp on the privacy front, while Copilot appears to be stumbling about from blunder to blunder for the moment. Again, it’s not a good look, made much worse by Apple’s confident and professional revelation of its AI rival for Macs and iDevices (though we should note, we need to see Apple’s promises in action, not just words, before we get carried away with any comparisons).

Still, awkward days for Microsoft, but we’re hoping the company can now take the time to get things right with Recall. In fact, we’d argue it must take the time to do so, or risk blemishes on the Copilot brand that’ll quite probably cause lasting damage in terms of public perception.

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Android’s Find My Device trackers are missing one big AirTags feature, but that could soon change

Google's upgraded Find My Device network is slowly rolling out globally to help Android fans find their lost belongings. And it seems that Google is already planning to add a key feature that the network lacks compared to Apple's AirTags – support for UWB (ultra-wideband) tech.

UWB is one of the main technologies that powers Apple AirTags' Precision Finding feature (below). That feature gives you directions, down to a few feet, to where your lost keys are. But Google's Find My Device network doesn't currently support the tech – even though many of the best Android phones now support ultra-wideband. 

While that oversight means that the first wave of Find My Device trackers lacks the feature, Google appears to have plans to fill the gap. As spotted by Android Authority, some code references in the latest version of the Find My Device app suggest that Google is working on adding UWB to its new network.

That doesn't necessarily mean that Google is planning to bring the feature to Find My Device soon, but it is a promising sign. And it might not be the only new feature in the pipeline for the network – another code reference points to AR (augmented reality) features via the ARCore software development kit (SDK).

In theory, that could tie in nicely with the UWB support, with a camera UI visually showing you how to track down your lost valuables. That would be a very Google integration with echoes of Google Lens, but for now, its Find My Device network lags behind its Apple rival in one small but useful area.

A nudge in the right direction

An iPhone showing the Precision Finding feature of Apple AirTags

(Image credit: Apple)

The lack of UWB support on Google's Find My Device network certainly isn't a deal-breaker for the early trackers that are available now from the likes of Chipolo and Pebblebee.

Like Apple's Find My network, Google's new network anonymously leverages millions of phones worldwide to help you locate lost items. You can attach the trackers, which come in tag and card form, to valuables and tap to 'play sounds' in the app to trigger a sound or get the tracker to emit an LED flash.

Both things help compensate for the lack of a visual Precision Finding feature like the one you get with AirTags. But those visual cues can still be very handy if you can't quite tell where the sound is coming from, and Apple's integration also gives you increasingly powerful vibrations alongside the UWB-powered directions.

Then again, UWB is only really helpful at very short range, so it only really becomes a benefit when you're in the same room as your lost item. So while it's certainly a nice-to-have that will hopefully come to the Find My Device, Google's rebooted network and the new trackers that support it are still a big upgrade from what was available before on Android.

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