Last week, Apple announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, allowing compatible third-party accessories to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside Apple devices. The first products that work with the Find My app will include the new Chipolo item tracker, new Belkin earbuds, and two electric bikes from VanMoof.
Given that VanMoof is based in the Netherlands, Dutch website iCulture‘s editor-in-chief Gonny van der Zwaag was able to get some early hands-on time with the VanMoof S3 bike with Find My support. Van der Zwaag also had the opportunity to interview VanMoof’s product design chief Job Stehmann about the company’s collaboration with Apple.
Stehmann revealed that when Apple first announced its plans for the Find My network accessory program at WWDC 2020, a VanMoof engineer posted a message on an Apple developer forum, saying it was an interesting feature. Apple was apparently actively looking for partners to work with at the time, and the two companies soon started working together, with weekly meetings held remotely on Mondays.
VanMoof provided Apple with many prototypes of its bikes for evaluation, according to Stehmann. Given that VanMoof has an office in San Francisco, the company was able to deliver the bikes directly to Apple engineers’ homes as necessary. Despite some hiccups in the development process, Stehmann said there was never too much pressure from Apple.
Stehmann said the Find My integration is purely a software feature, with no special chip inside the bike, adding that it took about nine months for Apple and VanMoof to tweak the software to be implemented properly.
All new VanMoof S3 and X3 e-bike models purchased after April 7 will be compatible with the Find My app on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, allowing users to locate the bike on a map if it has gone missing. If you lose the bike and someone else with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac comes close to it, the bike can communicate with their device, with the approximate location of the bike relayed securely and privately back to you.
For those interested in purchasing a VanMoof bike, Van der Zwaag has shared some detailed hands-on impressions of the S3 model at iCulture.