RIP AirPower: Apple's promising wireless charger dead on arrival

Apple marking the 10th anniversary of the first-ever iPhone launched the iPhone X, the company's radically different form factor in a long time and along with it, a new hardware AirPower wireless charger was showcased, which was supposed to hit stores in a few months, but the D-Day never came. It's has been close to 18 months since the announcement and now, the news has come in that AirPower will never be released.

Personally, I and several tech critics were eagerly waiting for the AirPower. I had heard wonderful things about the product from the some of the attendees present in 2017 Apple fall event, but now our hopes to review it has been dashed. I won't say it's gone forever, as Apple is likely to continue work on an alternative version of the AirPower as accessories are good source revenue for the Cupertino company and given the fact that iPhone sales are declining, it has started to shift focus on services. You can get the hint by how Apple hosted a big flashy event just to announce new Apple TV+ service and News+ along with Arcade gaming subscription and Apple Card, a virtual and physical credit card powered by Goldman Sachs and Mastercard.

Why AirPower Got Shelved?

Firstly, let me shed light on why AirPower was eagerly awaited by fans and technology enthusiasts alike. The AirPower mat was capable of sending information about the current charging status of the AirPods, Apple Watch Series 3 (& later) to the iPhone.

The user could view right on the lock screen including the iPhone battery charging details, as well [see picture above]. This intelligent feature of grouping multiple devices' charging details is not available in any of the rival brands even to this day.

Also, as you have already noticed by now is that Apple AirPower also supports simultaneous charging of multiple devices.

But, sadly recent reports emerged that Apple AirPower mat, which uses three coils had heating issues when multiple devices are placed side by side for charging at the same time.

However, there was a sliver of hope in late 2018 that Apple engineers might have found a way to dissipate the excessive heat and would finally come in the first quarter of 2019.

It can be noted that Apple's AirPods too had faced a long delay in reaching the market. Apple AirPods boasts breakthrough wireless technology to offer seamless sound experience on both ears and trouble-free connectivity with iPhones and iPads. In rival brands, only one of the two earpieces connects to the phone via Bluetooth and then transmit the signal to its secondary earpiece. But in Apple's case, both the units of AirPods are independently connected to the companion device thanks to W-series chipset. But, it took several months for engineers to fine-tune the AirPods' marquee feature and going by the recent market trends, AirPods, despite being expensive received good response from the public.

Even the second generation AirPods, which was unveiled last week, has advanced H1 chipset which offers 50-percent more talk time despite having same battery capacity as the predecessor and we expect it to receive a good reception from the public. Guess what. AirPods 2, which is already available in the US, there is a mention of AirPower support on the retail box.

Unfortunately, AirPower will not be making it to the market near future and as I said it before, never say never, particularly in the field of technology related to mobile devices and accessories. Already, commercial variants of fully flexible phones are on way to the store shelves and I believe, Apple might bring a better AirPower mat, maybe with a different moniker in a few years.

Apple Statement On Cancellation Of AirPower

Apple AirPower wireless charging mat shelvedApple Press Note (screen-grab)
Apple AirPower wireless charging mat shelved Apple Press Note screen-grab

"After much effort, we've concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward," said Dan Riccio, Apple's senior vice president of Hardware Engineering in an emailed statement to Tech Crunch.