AirPower (hardware)

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AirPower
Apple AirPower.jpg
AirPower, an Apple-designed wireless charging mat.
DeveloperApple Inc.
TypeWireless charging mat
Release dateCancelled

AirPower was a wireless charging mat designed by Apple Inc. It was initially previewed on September 12, 2017 at their Special Event at the Steve Jobs Theater in conjunction with the announcement of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.[1][2] Originally planned to be released in 2018, AirPower's release had been subject to delays, leading to wide speculation over the product's future, until Apple announced it had cancelled the project on March 29, 2019.[3]

Development[edit]

Compatibility[edit]

AirPower was intended to be compatible with the following devices:[4][5]

History[edit]

The AirPower concept was based on the Qi standard, and Apple had intended for it to be capable of charging multiple devices simultaneously. This feature is not supported by the Qi standard, though Apple was working towards incorporating it.[6][7][8] In particular, devices would not need to be carefully aligned on the charging mat due to the presence of a large number of charging coils, which could charge a device regardless of exact position.[7] Apple's intention was that an iPhone being charged would display on its lock screen the charging percentage of other devices being charged, such as AirPods and their charging case which do not have a display.[7]

On September 12, 2018, immediately after Apple's "Gather Round" media event, Apple removed almost all mentions of AirPower from its website.[9] There were reportedly several development issues that led to this decision, with heat management, inter-device communication and speed, and mechanical and interference issues all being rumoured. [4] Blogger John Gruber of Daring Fireball, known for his close connections with Apple, wrote that he had heard of issues with the device’s design: "Something about the multi-coil design getting too hot — way too hot. There are engineers who looked at AirPower’s design and said it could never work, thermally, and now those same engineers have that “told you so” smug look on their faces."[10]

AirPower was still mentioned in the packaging of several Apple products, including iPhone XS and iPhone XR,[11] and in January 2019 media outlets reported that AirPower may have entered production.[12] On March 25, 2019, Apple released iOS 12.2 with support for AirPower. On March 26, 2019, Apple shipped the Wireless Charging Case for AirPods featuring AirPower on the packaging. Also in late March, Apple secured a trademark on the AirPower name.[13]

However, on March 29, 2019,[14] Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, said in a statement emailed to TechCrunch: "After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project."[15] The move was unprecedented for the company as Apple had never previously cancelled an announced hardware product.[16] In the same article, TechCrunch's Editor-In-Chief Matthew Panzarino wrote "I’ve heard that they ran too hot because the 3D charging coils in close proximity to one another required very, very cautious power management".[17]

Apple later sold third party devices with the ability to simultaneously charge two Qi devices and an Apple Watch, though with a separate receptacle for Apple Watch's inductive charger.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The future is here: iPhone X" (Press release). Apple. September 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  2. ^ "Apple iPhone 8 event live blog". The Verge. September 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  3. ^ Panzarino, Matthew (2019-03-29). "Apple cancels AirPower product, citing inability to meet its high standards for hardware". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  4. ^ a b Loyola, Roman (September 17, 2018). "Apple AirPower wireless charging pad: Overheating, engineering issues could doom it forever". MacWorld. IDG. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  5. ^ "All three 2018 iPhones to support wireless charging, AirPower mat to cost $150, rumors say". AppleInsider. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  6. ^ Villas-Boas, Antonio (September 12, 2017). "Apple's new wireless charger was intended to charge the new iPhones, Apple Watch, and AirPods at the same time". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  7. ^ a b c Etherington, Darrell (September 12, 2017). "Apple reveals AirPower wireless charging pad coming in 2018". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  8. ^ Carmam, Ashley (September 12, 2017). "The iPhone 8 supports wireless charging". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  9. ^ "After No Sign of AirPower at Today's Event Apple Wipes Most Mentions From Website, however the latest iPhone XS models come with a guide which mentions AirPower". Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  10. ^ "Thoughts and Observations on Apple's iPhone XS/XR and Series 4 Apple Watch Introductory Event". Daring Fireball.
  11. ^ AirPower referenced in iPhone XS packaging, iOS 12.1 code shows continuing development. 9to5Mac.
  12. ^ Nield, David (13 January 2019). "The Apple AirPower mat is reportedly entering mass production at last". TechRadar. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  13. ^ Apple Secures Rights to AirPower Trademark Amid Launch Rumors. MacRumors.
  14. ^ Clover, Juli. "Apple Officially Cancels AirPower". www.macrumors.com. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  15. ^ Mayo, Benjamin (2019-03-29). "Apple AirPower mat cancelled, Apple says unable to meet its own standards of quality". 9to5Mac. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  16. ^ Apple Cancels Plan for AirPower Wireless Charger. Bloomberg.
  17. ^ "Apple cancels AirPower product, citing inability to meet its high standards for hardware". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  18. ^ Apple is now selling the AirPower, basically, only it’s not made by Apple. ArsTechnica. 9 August 2019.