Nobody Cares Until Apple Does It
But it’s also true that AirTags don’t exist in a vacuum. The item tracker market is filled with competitors — many of which lack the anti-abuse safeguards that AirTags have. In this investigation, we set out to identify two things: the unique risks that AirTags pose and the specific steps Apple could take to make them safer.
The prospect of key trackers being used to stalk people exploded into the tech media sphere last April when AirTags were released and reviewed for the first time. But the problem of tracker stalking long predates AirTags, and a dedicated network of advocates has been working on the issue for years.
Great reporting here by The Verge. Monica Chin notes that AirTags are far from the only tracker out there with concerns around stalking, which is absolutely true.
It's basically taken for granted today, but there are dozens (hundreds!) of things that existed before Apple did them, but Apple made them mainstream. Detractors will brush this off as "Apple says they invented X, but I've been doing it for years," but I'd say that speaks to their product chops.
This cuts both ways though, as mentioned in the article, people have been reporting on security issues with trackers like this for years, they just didn't get much attention. Now that Apple's jumped into the ring, now the reporting is similar, the issues are the same, it's just that more people are paying attention since Apple pushed this product category more mainstream than it's ever been before.
You can be cynical that reporting bad things about Apple gets clicks, and that's certainly true too. This is the cost of success: you get credit for the benefits, and scrutiny over the problems, even if you're not the first to have those problems.