Apple and Hermès launch AirTag accessories
Apple has launched its anticipated new AirTag trackers, alongside three new accessories crafted by French maison Hermès. Here, we explore the history and future of this decade-long collaboration
New Hermès Apple accessories have been announced in the ‘Spring Loaded’ Event broadcast from Apple Park on 20 April 2021. They comprise a leather bag charm, luggage tag and key ring for the new hero product of Apple’s spring launch, the much rumoured Apple AirTags. These small, circular tile-like item trackers will work with the company’s existing software, allowing you to track objects – from your luggage, to keys to your wallet – within Apple’s ‘Find My’ app.
Apple aficionados can order AirTags, alongside their covetable leather accessories, from 23 April 2021 – but more on this later.
Apple and Hermès: a history of iPadding
The Hermès / Apple relationship first blossomed following some Wallpaper* matchmaking back in 2010, when Hermès created a leather iPad case, for the first generation iPad for our Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition.
The collaboration continued to bloom. In 2019, the French maison and the US tech-titan joined forces to release the Apple Watch Hermès Series 4. ‘We are a manufacturing species, we make tools and we make tools to make objects. It is part of our culture and it is part of what makes us human,’ Hermès creative director Pierre-Alexis Dumas said at the time, hailing ‘technocraft’ (technology-meets-craftmanship) as the holy grail of modern design.
The first iPad case
In its first iteration, Hermès’ iPad envelope was made of two layers of Swift calfskin, hand saddle-stitched over a layer of protective padding.
Wallpaper’s resident quality maniac-at-large Nick Vinson lauded this pioneering form of technocraft back in 2010. ‘As many of us are a touch OCD here at Wallpaper* HQ, we knew we’d need to keep our new toy in a suitably smart case,’ he wrote. ‘Bring on a hand-crafted envelope by Hermès.’
A few weeks after taking a tour of the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition in Milan in April 2010, Pierre-Alexis Dumas shipped us an orange box. Inside was this unsolicited addition (pictured above), which we featured in the August 2010 Handmade issue. With the company’s usual dedication to handmade perfection, fawn-coloured Barenia calfskin was hand cut, and its edges first rounded with a heated tool, then sanded and coated with a dye before being polished with beeswax.
AirTags: tiny tech meets high craft
The new collection builds on this shared admiration of materials, and a maintained focus on craftsmanship – but this is leather detailing in miniature. The small bag charm, luggage tag and key ring, which were first displayed at the ‘Spring Loaded’ Event in classic Hermès colourways – are designed to be highly portable, lightweight, to fit comfortably and seamlessly onto your luggage or keychain.
Carolyn Wolfman-Estrada, Apple iPhone System’s engineering program manager described the Hermès AirTag collaboration as ‘a special handcrafted collection’. It also features an Hermès engraving on the AirTag itself.
The aim of this tiny piece of tech, which is made all the more special by its Barenia calfskin enclosures, is to enhance the usability of the FindMy app, ensuring that whatever your AirTag is attached to – in theory, any object of value to you – can be easily located. Apple has fitted the lightweight, water-resistant and dust-resistant trackable circles with speakers to make the search even easier, with a small cover that makes it simple to change the battery.
The AirTags will cost $29 apiece, with a four-pack of AirTags costing $99. §
Get the jump
Also announced for Spring: new Hermès Apple Watch bands, inspired by show jumping. These water-resistant, nylon-weave bands can be used for open water swimming, and you can match this band with any stainless steel Apple Watch case (Series 6 or previous versions).
These bold bands are available to preorder now, and will begin shipping on 27 April 2021.