Apple Rolls out ‘Find My’ to Bicycles and More: Sports Tech Thoughts – DC Rainmaker


Today Apple announced their Find My feature is now offered to 3rd celebration gadgets, and two of the 3 gadget partners for the preliminary launch aresports related. There’s the Belkin’s & sport earphones, and the VanMoof S3 & X3 electrical bikes. The third device isn’t on the market yet, but is the Chipolo OneSpot tracker, which is basically like a Tile tracker, but now likewise integrated with Apple’s Find My.

Now prior to we speak about Apple’s execution and the ramifications, one ought to note that what we see today is iterative on both their own innovation and others. A few years back 4iiii included Chipolo tracking to their power meters. It’s even on my mtb power meter from them. Sure, it will not keep somebody from taking your bike, but it may make finding it easier once again– depending on the intentions of the burglar, and whether there suffice Chipolo users close by.

Likewise, as we saw a couple of weeks earlier, Fitbit added Tile support to their wearables. The concept being you can use your mobile phone app to find your Fitbit tracker. Though, I think the majority of us most likely want to utilize our Fitbit to determine where on earth we left our phone in our home. Hey, iterative actions.

VanMoof’s Find My Feature:


Now, the VanMoof bike case is interesting to me. Primarily since up until semi-recently I in fact had a VanMoof bike(the one above ). In my case, I spent for their subscription service to have a non-electric Smart S. For those not familiar, VanMoof’s primary thing in life is that they’ve got connected bikes. Up until about a year ago, that was both electrical and non-electric bikes, now they’ve gone all e-bikes. The connected bits primarily referred to two pieces. The first was a smart device app that could do some standard things like lock and unlock your bike, set the alarm choices( which is crazy loud), track mileage, and examine battery status. The more appealing part of their smartphone app was that, in combination with a service they offered, they ‘d find your bike inthe event it was taken. The service was basically started with them switching on some tracking on the bike, as soon as set off, and then if required they ‘d escalate to sending out individuals to track it down ‘in the genuine world’. If they stopped working, you ‘d get a brand-new bike on them (presuming you spent for the service).

Now in my case with my non-electric bike, it was a sup-bar experience (I do not understand if the complete e-bikes are various). See, the tracking was just connected to whether your phone existed with it. So for example, when I would go on journeys for a week and park my bike elsewhere, sometimes it never even showed where the bike was parked (a week later on). This regardless of having a lot of battery in the bike. In basic, while the bike aesthetically looked fantastic (if you liked the contemporary design), in fact was improperly made or put together. Ridiculous things like nobody ever troubled to glue the pedal reflectors on (so they flew off constantly), and it that was provided to me at the display room with a blowout (seriously), and the three-speed moving would not move unless I backwards pedaled during each shift (each time). Ultimately I merely stopped utilizing it, and after paying more than it deserved in membership charges, I returned it. I had high hopes, but was disappointed on multiple fronts, consisting of just how much VanMoof hyped the app, but ultimately I found it quite underwhelming at the time. Perhaps things have actually changed.

With today’s announcement, their S3 and X3 bikes are now suitable with Find My, which if you’re an Apple user you’ll be familiar with. Basically you can open an app on your phone and discover other Apple products, like your iPad, phone, and computers. You can likewise do some fundamental management too, like triggering sounds or such. With Apple’s expansion of Find My, now 3rd celebrations can participate the action. Which, is precisely what VanMoof has actually done.


For new S3 and X3 bikes bought as of today, they’ll come geared up with the Find My function. This implies that it’ll reveal up on their Find My list of things, 24 × 7, according to VanMoof(unlike my non-electric version which appeared to update 0x0). Sure, this enables you to discover it, but it also lets you beep the horn too– making it easy to find your bike amongst hundreds of other bikes in the racks in Amsterdam(where VanMoof is based). That’s useful … specifically if you are a bit foggy on exactly where you parked it … 5 fictional pre-pandemic bar sees ago (all dining establishments have been closed here because last fall).


All of this depends upon a little brand-new hardware, which is why it’s just working on the more recent bikes from now, and not older ones. Among the important things here to understand is that unlike your iPhone or Mac using Find My, this isn’t leveraging WiFi or cellular in the bike itself. Instead, with the brand-new 3rd party access to Find My, it’s utilizing a various chipset akin to Apple’s U1 Ultra Wideband chip to act like a Tile/Chipolo network, leveraging other gadgets in the network– all without direct cellular/WiFi access. In the requirements for getting access to the Find My network, Apple notes:

“With this, third-party gadget makers will have the ability to make the most of Ultra Wideband technology in U1-equipped Apple devices, producing a more exact, directionally conscious experience when close by.”

More significantly however, if someone else finds your device (such as those sport earphones mentioned earlier), it’ll reveal a message on their phone on how to contact you. You’ll need to very first set the device as ‘lost’, and after that from there specify the contact details. While Tile and Chipolo have millions of devices, Apple has hundreds of millions of devices out always passively looking for things. The U1 chip is currently in the iPhone 11 & & 12 series phones, in addition to the Apple Watch Series 6 and HomePod Mini. Though unusually, not the more recent AirPods Max (the crazy pricey earphones), nor any of the newer M1 Macs.

Other Applications in Sports Tech:


Of course, when Apple tosses its weight behind something, it’s uncommon that it does not quickly find mass adoption. And unquestionably, 3rd parties will flock to the Find My feature with their own executions. The concern is: To what level? And that degree will largely depend on how complicated it is to execute technically, however also process-wise. For example, Apple’s HomeKit requirements and arrangements are well understood to be more complicated than 3rd celebration companies prefer. Hence, while there is adoption there– it’s more minimal than other Apple developer programs (and far more restricted in support than the Google Home integration, which is discovered on practically every mobile phone gadget made). In time that’s moving, but it’s ultimately slowed adoption of HomeKit gadgets.

On the technical side, I believe the implementation seen in Chipolo’s upcoming ONE Spot tracker is most likely the most fascinating one. Here’s an ultra-low-power device utilizing the innovation that crosses the divide into the Chipolo network. This efficiently functions as a gateway to stick a Chipolo tag on something and have it be tracked within your Find My app, instead of the Chipolo app. More importantly, it makes your small Chipolo tracker compatible with hundreds of millions of gadgets rather than simply the few million Chipolo users. Inversely, Chipolo isn’t limited to just iOS, however also Android compatible too.


As you move this lens into the sports world, I ‘d imagine the similarity Specialized and others would be wanting to put Find My chips on their bikes, particularly their e-bikes. Heck, once the Chipolo Find My made it possible for tracker appears in June (and hence the reach of all those Apple gadgets), I’m going to buy a few to stick semi-hidden on our cargo bikes. Sure, we have other theft defense on it, however one more layer comes in handy.

What about the likes of Garmin and others? Well, I think Fitbit has kinda paved that way for them. Today, Garmin’s ‘Find’ feature is connected to your particular phone, through simply Bluetooth. Whether it’s discovering your phone from your watch, or discovering your watch from your phone– both need an active and direct Bluetooth connection with your phone. Therefore, it just works if you’re close enough for that to occur. And it doesn’t work if your Garmin gadget is off. Or if the Garmin Connect app is closed, hung, or otherwise out to lunch.

For example, take a Garmin Edge bike computer– as soon as you power that off, it’s as great as dead to any find functions. Whereas something like the Chipolo tracker isn’t. It’s passively there still, and in the case of Chipolo’s tracker, connected to a small coin-cell battery– exactly as 4iiii has actually done with their power meter. There’s unquestionably area inside a lot of bike computer systems on the market for this type of thing to be executed. I think the value here is more in the bike itself than anything else.

Heck, why stop there. If the number of views on my ‘How to find your lost GoPro’ video is any indication– I ‘d find having this built into that super convenient. Undoubtedly most GoPro’s that are lost throughout action are eventually found … just by the incorrect person. If this might tell that person how to get it back to you– I suspect many individuals would. And even, simply having this in my own darn home would work.

Lastly, I believe a lot of individuals get fixated on the ‘stolen’ argument with these sorts of tech. Yes, that’s essential, but as the name indicates ‘Find My’ is more about finding something you’ve misplaced. Some individuals likewise utilize it to keep tabs on family members (such as the elderly or kids). To have this built into a watch as someone runs sans-phone throughout the city, silently laying a breadcrumb path of place hints, in case of emergency, looks like it could have substantial safety applications beyond discovering a fancy bike.

With that– thanks for reading!

For new S3 and X3 bikes purchased as of today, they’ll come geared up with the Find My feature. Sure, this permits you to find it, but it also lets you honk the horn too– making it simple to find your bike amongst hundreds of other bikes in the racks in Amsterdam(where VanMoof is based).

All of this depends on slightly somewhat brand-new, which is why it’s only just on the newer more recent from now, and not older ones. Other Applications in Sports Tech:


Of course, when Apple throws its weight behind something, it’s rare that unusual doesn’t quickly does not mass discover. As you move this lens into the sports world, I ‘d envision the likes of Specialized and others would be looking to put Find My chips on their bikes, particularly their e-bikes.

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