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“How often does Apple literally copy a startup’s product?” – Tile

Tile’s chief experience officer has slammed Apple ahead of the rumoured launch of its rival tracking product. Simon Fleming-Wood made the comments to Trusted Reviews during a reveal of Tile’s 2019 lineup.

Tile has been at the top of the tree in the tracker game for several years now – often imitated but rarely surpassed by companies looking to emulate its success. 

Fleming-Wood address what he thinks could be its biggest imitator yet: “How often does Apple literally copy a startup’s product? And say ‘Oh, us too.’” 

Apple has been rumoured to be launching a Tile rival for several months now – with many having expected the tracker to turn up at the recent iPhone 11 launch event. The tracker is still unconfirmed but an eventual launch is still expected.

He adds: “The irony will be it looks like it will be something like a Tile and it’ll use Bluetooth primarily for its use. And so, here we have this massive company replicating this thing that we’ve been doing for five years – which completely validates our category.”

Related: Read our full Tile Pro and Tile Mate (2018) review

While Fleming-Wood may not speak too kindly about reports that Apple could be working on a rival to Tile, he invites the competition: “I think honestly we’re excited about it. We feel a little bit like what Spotify was to music services, sort of Tile is to the trackers.”

Away from the issue of imitation and competition, Tile is extremely proud of its privacy record. Fleming-Wood declared: “… if we ever did anything that has our users lose trust in us, we are a one-trick pony, if we lose our users trust it is over. We take security and privacy incredibly seriously.”

The topic of privacy then saw the conversation – somewhat inevitably – return to Apple and what Fleming-Wood calls its “corporate narrative”.

“It’s funny to watch all this Apple stuff come out and obviously Apple from a marketing perspective – and not just vis-a-vis Tile but vis-a-vis Google and Facebook specifically – is trying to position themselves as the one that cares about your privacy.

That’s Apple’s corporate narrative right now – don’t get me started on that. There are going to be some very interesting stories written about what they are doing in the name of privacy to basically submarine competition – that’s a different story.”

…they are doing this at the exact time they are launching a competitive service

Fleming-Wood continued, saying Apple is “putting up hurdles in front of services like Tile, making it more difficult for us to get the location permissions from our users that we require. And, they are doing this at the exact time they are launching a competitive service for which they do not need the permissions.”

Trusted Reviews has contacted Apple for comment and this article will be updated accordingly.

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