475 days have passed since Apple took to the stage at its iPhone X launch event on September 12th, 2017 to announce AirPower, a wireless charging pad on which customers will be able to charge three Apple devices at once: iPhone, Apple Watch and a wireless AirPods charging case.
With the world now entering 2019 and the vague 2018 AirPower release date gone, here’s everything we know about Apple’s long-awaited AirPower charging mat, collaborating supply-chain reports and internal Apple leaks.
What’s caused the AirPower launch delay?
According to sources close to the matter, the delay in AirPower launching is down to “a series of technical hurdles”, with one of the biggest obstacles being prototypes overheating during testing. An Apple manufacturing partner is reported to have told Bloomberg in June that both sides are struggling to produce/source components that can offer non-interrupted charging across the full AirPower unit.
As described within Apple patent filings, between 21 and 24 different power coils of various sizes provide power to whichever device is charging upon the AirPower mat. Apparently the complex nature of the coil layout and its tight arrangement is causing interference issues, causing some coils to become unresponsive and others to reduce charging speeds.
Thirdly, AirPower is believed to run a basic version of iOS that will allow the mat to manage power effectively between the devices which it is charging, such as intelligently providing more power to an iPhone which is charging alongside a wireless AirPods charging case.
Leaker Sonny Dickson has published a report, citing Apple sources, that claims the heat given off by AirPower is overloading the onboard silicon/custom Apple charging chip that runs the basic version of iOS causing it to malfunction.
Has the AirPower project been scrapped by Apple?
Apple’s golden opportunity to update us all on AirPower would have been during the unveiling of the iPhone XR and iPhone XS in September, though this never happened. – The only update on the AirPower front was the removal of all mentioning of the accessory from Apple.com, a big indication that the charging mat wouldn’t be released anytime soon.
Just as it looked as if AirPower had been scrapped, when the new iPhone models shipped customers found mentioning of AirPower within the paper user guides that are bundled with the device, suggesting the device may not be dead after-all. – It’s possible the guides were printed before Apple made the decision to further delay the charging mat, or maybe Apple is still hopeful it can ship the product as it originally intended.
Will 2019 be the year Apple releases AirPower?
Renowned industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said he expects AirPower, and the new wireless charging case for AirPods, to launch early in the first quarter of 2019. Although at the time Kuo didn’t mention exactly why he believes the first quarter of the year is when AirPower will be released, the analyst is known for his many connections to Apple, so possibly his sources have shared information to him which has lead him to make his prediction.
What will AirPower cost?
Your guess is as good as mine. Apple has been extremely tightlipped on AirPower. No official pricing has been shared, although some suggest the mat may be priced around $199.00.
AirPower remains a big mystery, so much information is still unknown, and given that we’re now entering 2019, 475 days since Apple announced AirPower at its iPhone X launch event on September 12th, 2017 its clear the accessory is proving to be much harder to release than first anticipated.
Apple has refused to provide an update on AirPower, and one would assume that if they were planning on giving us all a new time window for the release of the wireless charging mat they would have done so by now, although with 2019 ahead of us who knows what Apple has up their sleeve.