New Targus Smart Backpack Pairs With Apple’s Find My Network (And? It’s ‘EcoSmart’ Too)

NEWS – An innovative “wearable” coming to the market this Spring just may be the perfect accessory for the Mac user on-the-go for transporting a laptop (and other wares).

CES — the annual consumer electronics show held in Las Vegas, Nevada — kicks off today and will run through January 7, 2022. According to the organizers of CES 2022, over 2,200 exhibitors have confirmed that they will be exhibiting in-person at this year’s event while attendees from 159 countries around the world, along with leading global media outlets, have registered to attend.

Targus's Cypress™ Hero EcoSmart Backpack,
Targus’s Cypress™ Hero EcoSmart® Backpack, made from recycled water bottles, connects to a user’s iPhone using Apple’s Find My network to locate the backpack should it go missing. (Photo: Targus)

While Apple does not make any product announcements at CES — the sole exception was back in 1992 with the announcement of the Newton three decades ago (more recently, in 2020, it participated in a discussion panel on privacy protections) ) — some are made by third party manufacturers that are compatible and designed to work with the Cupertino, California-based company’s products.

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Targus’s Cypress Hero EcoSmart Backpack

Take, for instance, Targus, an Anaheim, California-based company which describes itself as, “a leader in laptop cases and mobile computing accessories.”

In late Fall of last year, in advance of this year’s event, Targus was named a “CES 2022Innovation Awards Honoree” for its new product, the Cypress Hero EcoSmart Backpack. This sustainable laptop backpack, per the company, is equipped with a built-in tracking device that connects to a user’s iPhone (or other Apple devices) to find the location of their personal belongings and, should the backpack be lost or misplaced, it can be found on Apple’s Find My network.

As far as the “EcoSmart” aspect of the product, per the company, the equivalent of 26 plastic water bottles in recycled materials were used for the production of each backpack.

“With today’s mobile consumers who carry several devices and personal belongings, keeping track of them all can be challenging,” said Scott Elrich, Targus’s director of global product management, soft cases, in the press release. “We have combined the latest Apple technology with a smart, carefully designed backpack that meets the needs of today’s mobile and eco-conscious consumers for superior comfort, convenience, and functionality; whether at home, in the office, or on-the-go.”

The Cypress Hero EcoSmart Backpack — which is designed to fit laptops up to 16 inches and features a dedicated padded laptop compartment (as well as pockets and storage compartments for carrying and organizing personal belongings) — is scheduled to be released by Targus this Spring (see Targus’s official website for pricing and availability).

Apple’s Find My Network

For the uninitiated, Apple’s Find My network is described by the Cupertino, California-based company as, “a crowd-sourced network of hundreds of millions of Apple devices which use Bluetooth wireless technology to detect missing items nearby and report their approximate location back to the owner” (the entire tracking process is end-to-end encrypted and anonymous, so no one else, including Apple or even third party manufacturers, — can view a device’s location or information).

Introduced in the Spring of last year, the Find My network accessory program allows users to keep track of their Apple devices and other personal belongings when paired with compatible products from third party manufacturers (e.g., Targus’s Cypress Hero EcoSmart Backpack) within the “Items” tab in the Find My app on their iPhone. Subsequently, in order to allow these manufacturers to use the private and secure finding capabilities of Apple’s Find My network, the app was updated to be compatible with the manufacturers’ products.

According to the Cupertino, California-based company, the Find My network accessory program — which is part of the made for iPhone program (MFi) — is designed for any third party manufacturers looking to connect a new product, or an existing one, to Apple’s Find My network.

“For more than a decade, our customers have relied on Find My to locate their missing or stolen Apple devices, all while protecting their privacy,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s Vice President of worldwide product marketing, in a press release. “Now we’re bringing the powerful finding capabilities of Find My, one of our most popular services, to more people with the Find My network accessory program.”

Per Apple, products made by third party manufacturers must adhere to all of the company’s privacy protections. Approved accessories can be added to the “Items” tab and will feature a “Works with Apple Find My” badge to clearly communicate to users that the accessory is fully compatible. Additionally, the Cupertino, California-based company noted that when locating missing Apple devices, Apple’s Find My network — while paired with a manufacturer’s product — will extend its private and secure finding capabilities even if the device doesn’t, or can’t, connect to the internet.

CTA’s CES Innovation Awards

The CES Innovation Awards, an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products, recognizes participants in a wide range of product categories — from “Computer Hardware & Components” to “Mobile Devices & Accessories” — and distinguishes the highest rated in each. The Cypress Hero EcoSmart Backpack from Targus was recognized as an honoree in the “Computer Peripherals & Accessories” product category for CES 2022.

Recipients of the CES Innovation Awards are classified into two levels of recognition which are as follows:

  • “Best of Innovation” – the highest rated products across all product categories (the best of the best)
  • Honoree – the top scoring products in each product category

CES Innovation Awards judges are all highly respected experts in their fields and include consumer technology designers, engineers, and members of the media.

According to the “CES 2022 Innovation Awards Honoree” webpage, with Targus’s Cypress Hero EcoSmart Backpack featuring Apple’s Find My network technology, a user will know, always, the whereabouts of their Apple devices and other personal belongings. For instance, if a user’s iPhone goes missing, its owner simply has to press a button on the backpack itself to locate the phone. Conversely, a built-in tracking device on the product allows a lost or misplaced backpack (and any of the items contained inside it) to be found using the Find My app.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) — which owns and produces CES — notes that it does not test or endorse the products of award winners () (such as this new product from Targus).

Related Reading” from this column’s story archives (January 2019) – “Apple Expands Into The Smart Home Arena With Its HomeKit At CES 2019

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