Apple AirPower: The lowdown on Apple's announced but never launched wireless charger

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(Pocket-lint) - In aboriginal 2019, Apple admitted what a batch of radical had suspected for a while: AirPower, its long-awaiting charging mat, was dead.

It had been killed by Apple's tendency to beryllium capable to complaint devices wherever you enactment them successful the mat alternatively than having a azygous presumption for the Apple Watch, for example. 

There was immoderate speech pursuing its demise that the mat could inactive motorboat successful precocious 2020 - a specified 3 years aft it was archetypal announced - but that of people ne'er happened. Given that the accessories marketplace is present beauteous saturated, not slightest with galore AirPower-style triple iPhone, Watch and AirPods mats, we fishy the AirPower mat is present a distant dream, but here's its communicative anyway.

What is the Apple AirPower mat?

  • As good arsenic compatible iPhones, AirPower would besides person charged Apple Watch and the AirPods 2 with wireless charging lawsuit positive AirPods Pro
  • Would person charged immoderate Qi-compatible devices

Apple's AirPower was acceptable to beryllium a wireless charging mat that, similar others, plugs into the partition but transfers electrical complaint into compatible devices done interaction alone. You conscionable spot your devices connected it and they volition complaint without a ligament and with minimal fuss.

The iPhone X, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, iPhone 11 series, iPhone SE (2020) and iPhone 12 bid each diagnostic wireless charging and enactment with hundreds of existing Qi charging mats and accessories.

AirPower would besides charge Apple Watch in summation to the iPhone and AirPods 2 with wireless charging case and AirPods Pro. It would person been large capable for you to complaint each 3 astatine the aforesaid clip - your iPhone, Watch and AirPods. There are present galore third-party mats that bash the same, but not with the quality to spot devices randomly that Apple wanted.  

In aboriginal 2020, Apple leaker Jon Prosser had sources corroborate to him that the task is inactive precise overmuch underway and that Apple isn't giving up connected its wireless charging dream. Bloomberg besides supported this idea. However, Prosser was duped by a intelligibly fake mockup mat leaked to him - which helium went to lengths to support - and we're nary longer definite he's a reliable source. It of people doesn't assistance that nary AirPower has launched yet and we're present good into 2021.

Prosser said astatine the clip the mat was codenamed C68 and volition outgo a not-insignificant $250 with a probable motorboat day precocious successful 2020. With nary motion of the mat yet, the imagination is dilatory dwindling.

There volition seemingly beryllium an Apple A11 spot wrong to negociate vigor and modulate the charging voltage. 

What happened to AirPower mentation 1?

  • Didn't conscionable Apple's precocious standards
  • Project cancelled arsenic a result

The charging mat was primitively announced successful 2017 and we subsequently thought we mightiness spot it launched astatine assorted points afterwards. It ne'er happened.

Apple said successful an emailed connection that AirPower conscionable didn't conscionable its precocious standards:

"After overmuch effort, we've concluded AirPower volition not execute our precocious standards and we person cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking guardant to this launch. We proceed to judge that the aboriginal is wireless and are committed to propulsion the wireless acquisition forward,” said Dan Riccio, Apple's elder vice president of hardware engineering, successful a statement.

The mat was intelligibly cancelled rather precocious - successful aboriginal 2019 it was spotted again connected Apple's web server, portion the AirPods 2 container we received mentions AirPower by name as you tin spot below.

Another mentation of the container - which we judge mightiness beryllium a pre-release mentation - showed a diagram of AirPower connected the back. 

Pocket-lint

Apple Airpower Charging Mat Confirmed To Be Coming Soon By Airpods 2 Box representation  2

What's more, we thought it had gone into production. ChargerLAB spoke to idiosyncratic wrong Apple's proviso concatenation precocious successful 2018 who said that accumulation of AirPower had started.

The root cited Luxshare Precision arsenic the manufacturer, saying the institution is the shaper of AirPods arsenic well. In January it was besides reported that the Lite-On Semiconductor was manufacturing hardware for AirPower. 

What were the problems with AirPower?

  • Too hot, excessively galore coils
  • Desire to beryllium capable to spot devices anyplace was excessively challenging

According to Bloomberg in precocious 2018, the mat faced respective issues including technicalities with the interior circuitry. According to Chongdiantou, the mat would person incorporated a whopping 22 charging coils (this fig was disputed, but it's a lot). 

Why truthful galore coils? The thought was that it would complaint your instrumentality wherever you enactment it connected the mat. You don't request to beryllium precise with your placement of, say, an Apple Watch. And, apparently, determination were antithetic sizes of coils which overlapped. And that caused vigor and interference issues. 

Renowned Apple blogger John Gruber of Daring Fireball said successful 2018 that AirPower's hold was so down to the "multi-coil plan getting excessively blistery — mode excessively hot". 

Sonny Dickson added that "the mechanics being utilized for multi-device charging... is proving highly hard to physique oregon refine, and has been resulting successful a important magnitude of interference...which reduces the ratio of the charging mat, and contributes to the vigor issues that engineers are facing."

Back to Gruber: "Apple was seemingly swayed by arguments that they could fig retired a mode to marque it not get hot. They were, clearly, wrong." According to Dickson, determination were besides bundle issues, with the mat failing to feedback AirPod and Apple Watch charging information to iPhone - Apple's archetypal conception showed real-time complaint levels shown connected your iPhone (just arsenic you get for AirPod oregon Apple Watch present successful the iOS artillery widget). 

Apple AirPower rumours: What's happened truthful far?

Here's a past of the rumours and leaks surrounding AirPower.

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6 August 2021: AirPower charging mat reappears arsenic moving prototype

SlashGear reported that a moving prototype of what would person been the AirPower mat appears online, suggesting however adjacent Apple was to releasing the product.

2 November 2020: Apple sends invites to different Special Event

Apple has sent invites retired for different Special Event, acceptable to instrumentality spot connected 10 November. The invitation says "One much thing" but nary further hints oregon details are revealed. 

13 October 2020: Apple announces iPhone 12 series

Apple revealed the iPhone 12 bid during an lawsuit connected 13 October. No motion of the mat though. 

15 September 2020: Is Apple astir to motorboat a caller magnetic wireless charger for the iPhone?

If this rumour is true, the caller iPhone charger would connect to the backmost of the iPhone successful the aforesaid mode the Apple Watch charger does to the Watch. It's fundamentally a larger disc that would perchance screen the mediate portion of your iPhone. 

15 September 2020: Apple holds Special Event, nary AirPower revealed though

Apple held its Time Flies Special Event connected 15 September but the lawsuit focused connected caller iPads, arsenic good arsenic the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE and caller services similar Fitness+. 

8 September 2020: Apple lawsuit scheduled for 15 September 

Apple announced a virtual Special Event for 15 September 2020. It is not confirmed what products would beryllium revealed astatine the event, but the AirPower is imaginable arsenic that would coincide with the rumours of an extremity of 2020 merchandise date.

26 August 2020: Apple inactive moving connected mentation of AirPower, study claims

A Bloomberg study suggested Apple is inactive moving connected a little ambitious mentation of the AirPower wireless charging mat. The study centered astir a wireless startup institution called Aira, said: "More than a twelvemonth aft AirPower's demise, Apple is processing a little ambitious wireless charger for the iPhone."

18 June 2020: Apple Watch is present moving with the prototype which uses USB-C

Tech expert Jon Prosser shared images of the instrumentality (see above) and said that it would usage a USB-C cablegram for powerfulness alternatively of Lightning. He besides claims Apple present has Apple Watch moving with the mat. 

13 April 2020: We present person a rumoured AirPower terms and merchandise date

Prosser now says the mat is codenamed C68 and volition outgo a not-insignificant $250 with a probable motorboat day precocious successful 2020. There volition seemingly beryllium bn Apple A11 spot wrong to negociate vigor and modulate the charging voltage portion the Lightning cablegram presently plugs into the side; this mightiness not be 

23 March 2020: Apple mightiness resurrect its AirPower wireless charger

Tech expert Jon Prosser has sources who person confirmed the task is inactive underway. The main coil plan would look to person been completed with prototyping taking place. However, Prosser says that a cardinal occupation is the deficiency of Apple Watch enactment successful the prototype. 

Writing by Dan Grabham. Editing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published connected 11 September 2017.

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