A major regulatory board, the Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has issued a warning to anyone interest in buying Apple's AirTags, stating that the small, easily accessible batteries may be a choking hazard to young children.
Apple's AirTags, for those who aren't familiar, are small geo-trackers that you can put in your backpack, wallet, keychain, etc, that you can use your phone to track down.
However, as realized by the ACCC, the AirTags are quite easy to pry open, exposing the battery inside. This has raised concerns about whether these batteries will pose a choking hazards for any curious young children.
What Does This Mean for Apple?
Fortunately for Apple, this statement by the ACCC isn't an official warning to Apple, nor is it going to lead to an expensive fine. In effect, it simply amounts to a statement regarding the potential safety of the AirTag batteries:
“The ACCC is concerned that the AirTag’s battery compartment could be accessible to young children, and the button battery removed with ease. In addition, the AirTag battery compartment’s lid does not always secure fully on closing, and a distinctive sound plays when an AirTag’s lid is being closed, suggesting the lid is secure when it may not be.”
However, while this isn't a direct order for change or product recall, some retailers are taking this warning seriously and removing AirTags from their shelves, as to potentially avoid being mixed up in legal proceedings if something were to happen. One substantial example is OfficeWorks, a large Australian chain.
The Future of AirTags
While this statement by the ACCC basically amounts to a firm warning, Apple might want to take it seriously. Firstly, the company could find itself in trouble if a child were to ingest a lithium battery. However, if more businesses such as OfficeWorks take this seriously and remove AirTags from shelves, it could make a decent dent in Apple's profit margins.
Australia is looking to introduce legislation that demands battery hatches to be more complicated to open. For example, using a screwdriver or even a paperclip is much more secure than a simple liftable hatch.
This warning is the first step in making these devices safer, and Apple will want to address them before it becomes legally essential