AirPower: Everything We Know
What is AirPower?
AirPower is an Apple-designed charging mat designed to charge Qi-based iPhones, the Apple Watch, and the AirPods, using a specially designed and as-of-yet unreleased wireless compatible AirPods Charging Case.
Apple's AirPower is proprietary and combines at least two different wireless charging methods -- Qi and then the Apple Watch charger, which is inductive and not Qi based.
It's designed so that you can place an iPhone, AirPods, or Apple watch on any portion of the mat to have the device charge, which means multiple overlapping chargers must be included.
The AirPower mat is big enough to charge all three devices at one time, with the AirPower itself connected to an external power source, perhaps using a USB-C cable.
In Apple's renderings, AirPower also had a feature that let the iPhone display the wireless charging level of all of the devices on the mat, including the iPhone itself, the Apple Watch, and the AirPods.
Where is AirPower?
AirPower missed its 2018 launch date, and while Apple has been quiet on the reason why, rumors have suggested there were serious manufacturing issues and kinks to be worked out.
Apple was forced to delay the AirPower after having trouble dealing with the complex multi-device charging circuitry, software bugs, and the potential for overheating.
Over the course of 2018, Apple has been working out kinks including heat management, inter-device communication, and interference issues, and there were times during development where rumors suggested Apple could potentially be planning to nix the AirPower, but there have been consistent mentions in 2018 iPhone packaging.
Apple doesn't appear to have given up on the AirPower, and new information even suggests a launch could be on the horizon.
When Will AirPower Launch?
Apple announced AirPower in September 2017 alongside the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X, and said at the time that it would launch sometime in 2018.
The end of 2018 has come and gone, and Apple has given no further official info on when the AirPower will debut.
A recent rumor from Apple's supply chain in China has suggested the manufacturing issues have been solved. The AirPower is said to be entering mass production on January 21, with Apple planning to release it sometime soon.
What "soon" means is unclear, but if mass production is beginning in late January, Apple could be targeting February as a potential launch month.
What Will AirPower Cost?
Apple never announced pricing for the AirPower, but there have been some guesses. Chinese "industry insiders" in August 2018 suggested the AirPower could cost somewhere around $1,000 Chinese yuan, equivalent to right around $147.
Back in November 2017, a Polish website suggested the AirPower would cost around 999 złoty, equivalent to $199.
Given that both of these rumors came from well before the AirPower was even in production, neither are particularly reliable, but we think it's reasonable to expect a price tag in the neighborhood of $130 to $200 based on the price points of competing wireless charging devices and Apple's accessory pricing in general.
Which Devices Will Work With AirPower?
- iPhone - All Qi-compatible iPhones will work with AirPower, which includes iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
- AirPods - Using AirPower with AirPods will require a special wireless AirPods Charging Case, which is not yet available and will presumably launch alongside the AirPower.
- Apple Watch - AirPower will work with the Apple Watch Series 3 and later. It is not compatible with Series 2 and older watches.
AirPower was announced in September 2017, and at the time, Apple promised a 2018 launch date. Multiple rumors initially suggested a possible March 2018 release, but March came and went, and there was also no sign of AirPower at WWDC in June or at the September iPhone event.
After its September iPhone event, Apple wiped almost every mention of the AirPower from its website, and rumors later in September indicated that Apple was having problems with overheating, interference, and software.
Dire reports suggested the AirPower was doomed to fail if engineers couldn't solve a number of issues plaguing the device, but when the iPhone XS and XS Max launched a bit later in September, we found AirPower documentation, indicating work on the device is still underway.
In October, we heard the AirPower was going to be released in late 2018 or early 2019, but after Apple's October 30th event came and went with no AirPower mention, it became clear Apple wasn't going to make its 2018 deadline.
In December, Apple was still mentioning the AirPower in job listings, and then in early January, refreshed rumors hinted that mass production would soon start.
That brings us up to date. We're hoping for an AirPower launch within the next couple of months now that the accessory is ready for production, but there's still no concrete information on when it might debut.
This article, "AirPower: Everything We Know" first appeared on MacRumors.com
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