What if Apple missed an episode? In Australia, a law that will not come into effect until next year requires the addition of a secure insert for button batteries. The idea? Avoid ingestion by young children. On site, this text is already a problem for AirTags, the battery of which would be too easy to access.
Proactively, Officeworks, an Australian chain of stores, has removed AirTags from its shelves and site to comply with local law. Passed in December 2020 and applicable from June 2022, the latter governs the integration of button batteries in electronic accessories (among others), which must include them through a secure insert in order to avoid accidents with the most youth. For Officeworks, this is not the case for tokens of tracking Apple, whose battery would be too easy to access.
« We more and more serious injuries and deaths of children due to these batteries[bouton]», explique l’ACCC (l’Australian Competition and Consumer Commission). « Their generally larger diameter means they are more likely to get caught in a child’s esophagus if ingested; and their higher tension can damage tissue faster », lit-on.
AirTags concerned in the Australian market?
More specifically, the new Australian regulations provide that devices using button batteries will in the future be equipped with a secure compartment, capable of withstanding attempts to open them by children. New warnings and symbols will also have to be added to the packaging of the products concerned.
Apple is planning to add these new mentions to the packaging of its AirTags in Australia, but the AirTags themselves are content with a two-step opening system to access the button cell battery. It is indeed necessary to apply pressure to unscrew (counterclockwise) a small capsule. Not sure that this is sufficient for the Australian authorities, but changing the mechanism would force Apple to thoroughly review the design of the product, which seems unlikely in the immediate future.
Contacted by Mashable, an Apple spokesperson assures us that the current system is sufficiently secure. “The AirTag is designed to meet international child safety standards, including those of Australia, by requiring a two-step opening involving pressure and rotation (…) ». « We follow regulations closely and strive to ensure that our products meet or exceed new standards, including those relating to the labeling of our packaging, well in advance of the required deadline. “, he added.
Note that for the time being, AirTags are still marketed by several major Australian brands, including Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi. It remains to be seen whether Officeworks is overzealous, or if its position is indeed heralding of difficulties for Apple and its AirTags in this market.