Apple AirPower charging plate uses Qi protocol, but may not be compatible with other devic...

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in iPhone
Apple's AirPower charging plate will charge three Qi devices, and appears to be the first plate that takes advantage of the protocol's ability to deal with multiple devices on the same charger by sensing the location of the device, and only inducing a charge in those locations.




At present, the most common Qi implementation allows for one device to be charged by one base station. As an example, the Belkin charging plate, announced on Tuesday, adheres strictly to that requirement.

There is no specific order for devices on the device, and it appears at this time that a Series 3 Apple Watch, the AirPods Wireless Charging Case, and a compatible iPhone can be placed nearly anywhere on the pad.

This is allowed implicitly by the Qi standard -- it just appears that nobody else has done it the way that Apple is, just yet.

How Qi works

The Qi standard relies on induction between two coils to deliver power to a device that needs charging. The base station contains a transmitting coil that generates a oscillating magnetic field, which induces an alternating current in the receiving field.

The coils are aligned with each other in either guided positioning relying on the user to place a device in a specific position and alignment, or hardware can be built allowing for free positioning.

Free positioning is generally used in most charging plates, with relatively minor adjustments made by magnetic positioning or other mechanical apparatuses.

Other multiple device Qi charging pads like the Incipio Ghost 220 still have specific locations, and are using multiple coils in one charging unit.




Qi also allows for free positioning to be implemented by inducing a magnetic field just at the location of the receiving coil with multiple cooperative flux generators. Devices put on a plate communicate their location, and the field is only induced under the device by the flux generators operating in tandem.

Apple appears to be using this method for a trio of devices that can be placed in any order, on any location on the pad.

Pay it forward?

Apple is a member of the Wireless Power Consortium, and has been since February. It has been using an off-shoot of the Qi technology in the Apple Watch prior to the Series 3, albeit made proprietary by MFi-based authentication.

The Wireless Power Consortium trumpeted the release of the technology in the iPhone 8, iPhone X, and Series 3 Apple Watch. In a statement, an executive for the group claimed that Apple's inclusion is paving the way to "ubiquitous access to wireless charging."

Apple cognoscenti John Gruber seems to think that Apple will share the technology it is using with the AirPower with the Qi members -- but there is no obligation for the company to do so.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21

    Have I just missed the charging rate and power consumption comparisons between this and the dedicated chargers, and what the tolerances are for cases, or have there been none?

    Not that it's going to matter a great deal.  This is kind of a no-brainer for my wife and I when it becomes available, and we upgrade to the 8, or X, or whatever it is we decided on.  One mat on the headboard for both of our phones?  Sign me up.

    edited September 2017 watto_cobraairmanchairman
  • Reply 2 of 21
    Really what choice would they have? Qi has been out for years and many places, cars and furniture already have Qi in place. Nobody wants fragmentation in this space. 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 21
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,162member
    Did not Apple say at the event that they were working with the WPC to make multi-device chargers work?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 21
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,566member

    Have I just missed the charging rate and power consumption comparisons between this and the dedicated chargers, and what the tolerances are for cases, or have there been none?

    Yeah, I was wondering that, too. If the charge rate is hideously slow it makes it much less practical. CarPlay requires me to plug in my phone, so car charging isn't an issue for me, and I leave my phone propped up on my nightstand so I can easily see it to hit snooze in the morning, so I'll probably keep plugging mine in regardless.

    Even if Qi has been out for a while, Apple (or another company) could still cause fragmentation by using nonstandard implementations. Microsoft used to do that all the time in the 90's. I hope this isn't the case - having a universal standard would allow much easier use in public spaces like airports and hotels. How nice would it be to be able to just throw your phone on the nightstand at a hotel? From the article, it sounds like Apple was working with the consortium, so hopefully a multiple-device mat will be part of a new standard. If you extend the theory, an airport could have a 10 foot long counter with one big mat, allowing people to place their phones anywhere on it.
  • Reply 5 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,780administrator
    Really what choice would they have? Qi has been out for years and many places, cars and furniture already have Qi in place. Nobody wants fragmentation in this space. 
    Well, given that they used a nonstandard Qi in the Series 0 through 2 Apple Watch, they have many choices. The standard does allow for what Apple looks to be doing with the AirPower.

    It's not up to Apple to be sure that other devices are compatible with their technologies that they develop.
    edited September 2017 StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,780administrator

    lkrupp said:
    Did not Apple say at the event that they were working with the WPC to make multi-device chargers work?
    "Working with" and "sharing what's developed" are two different things.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,190member

    lkrupp said:
    Did not Apple say at the event that they were working with the WPC to make multi-device chargers work?
    "Working with" and "sharing what's developed" are two different things.
    I seem to recall a suggesting that AirPower's multi-device innovations be submitted to Qi to become part of their standard.
    jony0
  • Reply 8 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,780administrator
    Soli said:

    lkrupp said:
    Did not Apple say at the event that they were working with the WPC to make multi-device chargers work?
    "Working with" and "sharing what's developed" are two different things.
    I seem to recall a suggesting that AirPower's multi-device innovations be submitted to Qi to become part of their standard.
    We'll see. Apple said the same thing about FaceTime.
    lolliverwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 21
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,911member
    I will get one of these, strictly for travel, to reduce the amount of cables and chargers I need to lug around. However, this is not practical for me.at home. Sometimes I charge my phone overnight in the kitchen. Sometimes I charge it in the living room or at work while I'm using it, which makes the whole wireless charging thing pointless for me.


  • Reply 10 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,190member
    Soli said:

    lkrupp said:
    Did not Apple say at the event that they were working with the WPC to make multi-device chargers work?
    "Working with" and "sharing what's developed" are two different things.
    I seem to recall a suggesting that AirPower's multi-device innovations be submitted to Qi to become part of their standard.
    We'll see. Apple said the same thing about FaceTime.
    Steve did, and it was reported that no one knew he was going to say that. I think the scenerios are very different, and it’s not like Apple doesn’t have a long history working with standards organizations. I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t happen.
    edited September 2017 StrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 21
    mike1 said:
    I will get one of these, strictly for travel, to reduce the amount of cables and chargers I need to lug around. However, this is not practical for me.at home. Sometimes I charge my phone overnight in the kitchen. Sometimes I charge it in the living room or at work while I'm using it, which makes the whole wireless charging thing pointless for me.
    I'll get one for travel for sure. I have an existing travel kit with plugs and chargers, will be nice to replace it with one thing.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 21
    Soli said:

    lkrupp said:
    Did not Apple say at the event that they were working with the WPC to make multi-device chargers work?
    "Working with" and "sharing what's developed" are two different things.
    I seem to recall a suggesting that AirPower's multi-device innovations be submitted to Qi to become part of their standard.
    We'll see. Apple said the same thing about FaceTime.
    I was under the impression that the FaceTime thing fell apart after the VirnetX lawsuit started.
    jony0
  • Reply 13 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,190member
    mike1 said:
    I will get one of these, strictly for travel, to reduce the amount of cables and chargers I need to lug around. However, this is not practical for me.at home. Sometimes I charge my phone overnight in the kitchen. Sometimes I charge it in the living room or at work while I'm using it, which makes the whole wireless charging thing pointless for me.
    1) Why not just get inexpensive single-device Qi chargers for other locations the way that many of use now have PSUs and cables in various places, as needed.


    2) For travel, the matrix is starting to get complex. For starters, having an Apple Watch means you need to have an inductive charger. Will the Series 3 charger at least trickle charge the iPhone? If so, then I can likely save on carrying an extra Lightning cable just to charge the iPhone, which I do my plugging into my Mac, which is the only device I bring with its PSU. If it can't use the Series 3 charger then I need to see if it's worth getting my own charger that will work for both items, if it needs to work for both at once or can I pop my Watch on there during showers and my phone overnight to charge them, and if the place I'm staying will offer Qi charging. That last one will become increasingly more common, especially now that Apple has adopted the standard.

    Additionally, I've found that charging my Watch on a plane or train isn't a great solution because the low magnetic attraction and the typical jarring of those events. Other possible scenarios could be camping or sailing. A travel Qi charger that will hold the device in some way seems like something in my near future, if it exists.

    edit: I can find some basic travel chargers, some with battery packs, but not what I'm looking for. Looking for something that can hold the devices against the charging pad despite being jolted or shaken. A product that could push power out both sides of a travel pad that holds and iPhone on one side and a Watch on the other would be nifty. An elastic step would probably be easiest. No Rights Reserved.
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 14 of 21

    mike1 said:
    I will get one of these, strictly for travel, to reduce the amount of cables and chargers I need to lug around. However, this is not practical for me.at home. Sometimes I charge my phone overnight in the kitchen. Sometimes I charge it in the living room or at work while I'm using it, which makes the whole wireless charging thing pointless for me.
    I understand the part about charging stuff at diffent times and places in your house, but for me it would be handy to just drop my Watches and my iPhone in one place when going to bed.  Even the AirPods occasionally (I rarely have to charge the case, I've had them since January and charged the case 5 times since then).

    It also occurs to me...I've seen people questioning why the name AirPower when the devices need to be placed not the pad and in contact with it.  Could it be Apple is using that name so that one day it will work with the rumored 'actual' wireless charging?
  • Reply 15 of 21
    Does this mean I won't be able to use the charging pad with my Apple Watch series 2? :-/
  • Reply 16 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,780administrator
    Does this mean I won't be able to use the charging pad with my Apple Watch series 2? :-/
    Apple is very specific about it being for the Series 3. Your Series 2 uses Qi, technically, but with MFi authentication in the charging cable.
    musicmandws
  • Reply 17 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,190member

    mike1 said:
    I will get one of these, strictly for travel, to reduce the amount of cables and chargers I need to lug around. However, this is not practical for me.at home. Sometimes I charge my phone overnight in the kitchen. Sometimes I charge it in the living room or at work while I'm using it, which makes the whole wireless charging thing pointless for me.
    I understand the part about charging stuff at diffent times and places in your house, but for me it would be handy to just drop my Watches and my iPhone in one place when going to bed.  Even the AirPods occasionally (I rarely have to charge the case, I've had them since January and charged the case 5 times since then).

    It also occurs to me...I've seen people questioning why the name AirPower when the devices need to be placed not the pad and in contact with it.  Could it be Apple is using that name so that one day it will work with the rumored 'actual' wireless charging?
    1) Possibly.

    2) Devices don't have to be "in contact" with the pad for it to work. Similarly, Apple Pay doesn't have to be "in contact" with the terminal for it to work but I make physical contact with it on pretty much every purchase.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    Soli said:

    mike1 said:
    I will get one of these, strictly for travel, to reduce the amount of cables and chargers I need to lug around. However, this is not practical for me.at home. Sometimes I charge my phone overnight in the kitchen. Sometimes I charge it in the living room or at work while I'm using it, which makes the whole wireless charging thing pointless for me.
    I understand the part about charging stuff at diffent times and places in your house, but for me it would be handy to just drop my Watches and my iPhone in one place when going to bed.  Even the AirPods occasionally (I rarely have to charge the case, I've had them since January and charged the case 5 times since then).

    It also occurs to me...I've seen people questioning why the name AirPower when the devices need to be placed not the pad and in contact with it.  Could it be Apple is using that name so that one day it will work with the rumored 'actual' wireless charging?
    2) Devices don't have to be "in contact" with the pad for it to work. Similarly, Apple Pay doesn't have to be "in contact" with the terminal for it to work but I make physical contact with it on pretty much every purchase.
    Huh, I wasn't aware.  How close do they have to be to work?  I'm guessing close enough where it wouldn't make sense NOT to place the device directly onto the pad.

    Funny you mention Apple Pay and proximity. I pretty much always put my Watch onto the terminal to pay but I never do with my iPhone, I put the iPhone close but never actually touch (unless in error).  I'm not sure why I do that...
  • Reply 19 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,190member
    Soli said:

    mike1 said:
    I will get one of these, strictly for travel, to reduce the amount of cables and chargers I need to lug around. However, this is not practical for me.at home. Sometimes I charge my phone overnight in the kitchen. Sometimes I charge it in the living room or at work while I'm using it, which makes the whole wireless charging thing pointless for me.
    I understand the part about charging stuff at diffent times and places in your house, but for me it would be handy to just drop my Watches and my iPhone in one place when going to bed.  Even the AirPods occasionally (I rarely have to charge the case, I've had them since January and charged the case 5 times since then).

    It also occurs to me...I've seen people questioning why the name AirPower when the devices need to be placed not the pad and in contact with it.  Could it be Apple is using that name so that one day it will work with the rumored 'actual' wireless charging?
    2) Devices don't have to be "in contact" with the pad for it to work. Similarly, Apple Pay doesn't have to be "in contact" with the terminal for it to work but I make physical contact with it on pretty much every purchase.
    Huh, I wasn't aware.  How close do they have to be to work?  I'm guessing close enough where it wouldn't make sense NOT to place the device directly onto the pad.

    Funny you mention Apple Pay and proximity. I pretty much always put my Watch onto the terminal to pay but I never do with my iPhone, I put the iPhone close but never actually touch (unless in error).  I'm not sure why I do that…
    It depends on a lot of factors, just like WiFi or BT has technical limitations and real world limitations. A quick search shows a Computerworld article saying that the "WPC said it has demonstrated power transfer at up to 30 millimeters (mm), compatible with today's Qi v1.1 receivers," but my point is that it's not touching the pad that allows the charging, but the proximity to the charging coils that create the magnetic field, like with NFC, since it's a wireless technology.

    This could easily grow into something with more distance, but I would't expect Apple to be first into it, which includes supporting newer Qi standards that will support a larger magnetic field. The smaller the field the less energy is lost in transmission, which I've read—but haven't confirmed—increases dramatically with even additional short distances.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    Apple wants there accessories to be different from everyone else. They create a standard all there own. This is no different. Apple wants you to buy here product or products they approve.   It's not a mistake that the Apple Watch wasn't on a mainstream standard. Just like it's not a coincidence that Apple didn't go with the 15w according to that rumor 
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