Apple insists its AirTags meet international child safety standards despite Officeworks suspending the sale of the newly-launched tile product.
In late April, Apple unveiled its own version of Tile technology, a device that uses Bluetooth to track personal belongings to your smartphone.
However, reports surfaced online of customers being told at Officeworks stores that the AirTag was temporarily unavailable, while the company also removed the product from its website.
“Eventually someone came downstairs from the office and explained that the AirTags have been recalled due to safety concerns of how easily the button-cell battery can be removed by a child,” a user posted on Reddit.
Officeworks confirmed the product suspension.
“The Apple AirTag range will temporarily be unavailable from purchase from Officeworks,” a spokesperson said.
“The product will not be stocked by Officeworks until further guidance is provided from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Officeworks continues to work with Apple to address any safety concerns.”
However, the tech design giant stood behind its new product.
“AirTag is designed to meet international child safety standards, including those in Australia, by requiring a two step push-and-turn mechanism to access the user-replaceable battery,” Apple (Australia) told NCA NewsWire in a statement.
“We are following the regulations closely and are working to ensure that our products will meet or exceed new standards, including those for package labelling, well ahead of the timeline required.”
Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) urged all commercial retailers to suspend and report product they thought could have dangerous button cell battery components.
“The ACCC is aware of reports raising concerns about the accessibility of button batteries in the Apple AirTag product,” an ACCC statement read.
“If a supplier finds a product they supply is unsafe, the ACCC expects the supplier to conduct a voluntary recall to advise consumers of the risk, address the safety issue, or remove the product from the market.
“If a supplier becomes aware of a serious injury, illness or death caused by a product they supply, the supplier must make a mandatory injury report through the Product Safety Australia website.”
AirTags are sleek and come in a leather casing, costing $45 each or four for $149.
They can be attached to keys, backpacks, luggage and other objects as you would a Tile.
The product uses an iPhone’s camera, accelerometer and gyroscope, along with visual and haptic feedback, to help locate the device.
They can be monitored in the Find My app.
In December 2020, the Federal Government announced new mandatory safety and information standards for button batteries and products that contain them.
There are requirements for secure battery compartments, child resistant packaging and warnings and information.
The standards include an 18-month transition period and will come into force on 22 July 2022, but are not mandatory now.
However the ACCC has urged manufacturers to comply with the standards before the deadline.