AirPower wireless charging pad allegedly stalled until spring by heat and interference iss...

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Multiple development hurdles are behind Apple's failure to ship its AirPower multi-device wireless charging mat, with a report claiming heat, mechanical, and interference issues are preventing Apple's engineers from completing the project.




Announced in 2017 at the iPhone X launch, the AirPower wireless charging mat was warmly welcomed by the media, as a single charging point for up to three devices, allowing an iPhone, Apple Watch, and an AirPods wireless charging case to recharge at the same time. While not launched at the time, Apple anticipated a release for the accessory sometime in 2018, but has unexpectedly stayed quiet about it over the last year.

According to sources of Sonny Dickson, the prospects for AirPower are grim, with the feeling of those with knowledge of the project suggesting it is doomed to failure, and is probably unviable for release unless "significant advancements" are made to it.

Heat management is cited as one of the major issues with the product, with AirPower generating too much heat, which in turn affects performance and the ability of devices placed on the mat to charge in the first place. Heat is also said to be affecting Apple's custom charging chip.

A second problem, dealing with inter-device connection, is causing issues with charging activation, charging speed, and accuracy of charge levels. The problem is apparently worse for the AirPod case and the Apple Watch, as both devices have to communicate with the iPhone to monitor each device's charging level while on the mat, something that is being hampered by the mat itself.

A major problem is the mechanism that the mat uses for multi-device charging. Qi wireless charging relies on induction between two coils for power delivery, but AirPower uses between 21 and 24 power coils of different sizes, which the report claims is used to accommodate the three main devices that will be used for charging.

AppleInsider has been aware since 2017 that the only way to execute Apple's vision is with multiple flux generators, as described by Dickson as up to 24 power coils.

This multi-coil configuration has numerous challenges associated with it, including a significant amount of interference buildup and heat generation. This is in part caused by the use of many different sizes of coils, which are also overlapping in order to fit into a confined footprint.

The complex circuitry associated with the coils is also identified as an issue for the product, and it is unlikely to be overcome without making the AirPower mat thicker and larger. It is believed Apple will not compromise on thickness nor size for the device, despite the engineering challenges.

The chances of there being an AirPower launch before the end of 2018 are slim, with engineers connected to the project suggesting it is unlikely to take place. References to the product have been removed from the Apple website, further suggesting there won't be a launch in AirPower's current form anytime soon.

Some "less notable individuals involved with the project" apparently suggest the AirPower concept and trademark will be reused, but on an all new product instead of the previously-teased mat. Features are not known, and a future public reveal is said to be unlikely to occur before the spring.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    Very surprised Apple ever announced this on stage. It clearly was vaporware at that point and that’s not something Apple usually makes public. John Gruber things this product is pretty much DOA and will never be released.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 19
    irelandireland Posts: 17,470member
    And suddenly we know this information after Gruber posted his story? Was Sonny waiting for Gruber to post first?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Apple never releases products until they are fully baked.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    Steve Jobs: "Real artists ship!"
    This is why Steve Jobs never (mostly) announced anything publicly before it was real and ready.

    Andy Hertzfeld:
    Real Artists Ship

    Shakespeare, Macbeth act 1, scene 7:
    "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only
    Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
    And falls on the other."

    badmonkmac_128
  • Reply 5 of 19
    It needs a flux capacitor? Great Scott!
    king editor the gratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,516member
    Very surprised Apple ever announced this on stage. It clearly was vaporware at that point and that’s not something Apple usually makes public. John Gruber things this product is pretty much DOA and will never be released.
    Unless management got rolled by promises from engineering and technical problems became worse as time passed. I bet management never saw a working prototype in the lab but took the word of whoever was in charge that it would eventually work. Or it could be something like we hear from the armchair engineers in this forum who blather about how "easy" it would be to add this or that feature/function with out knowing a damn thing about hardware or software engineering. A charging platform that will charge three devices at once? Piece of cake until they actually tried to build the thing.

    The real black eye for Apple would be for them to cancel the project and then have Belkin or some other third party manufacturer come out with a working product.
    edited September 17 tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 204member
    I was just thinking this morning that it was annoying to have so many cables to charge all my devices as I was hunched under my desk searching out a fallen cable. I hope someday someone can figure out something like this because it would be a convenience and make charging a little more pleasant.
    christopher126stompyirelandwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    In the previous thread on the airpower topic being late, I indicated it most likely late do to the fact Apple was not simply putting in 3 coils but some combination of coils which allows you to charge any device on any part of the pad without needing to know the exact place to place the device.

    On the topic of interference, We have Qi charger for our iPhone 8 but we notice it does play havoc on the charger plugged into the wall. We use a third party charger and we have a couple of them since they have two USB outputs and each one is rated at 7.5W and have worked great and never had issues with them. However, when we plug in the Qi charging pad it causes the charger to pulse and put out interference in to the air which messes with our clock radio we use for morning wake up music. As soon as we pull the iPhone off the charging pad the interference goes away. Took a while to figure out what was going on, first we thought the clock radio was dying since it 20 yrs old. But it was just RF interference from the Qi charging pad and the charger. BTW it also happens when the Apple Ipad and iPhone chargers are used.


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    lkrupp said:
    Very surprised Apple ever announced this on stage. It clearly was vaporware at that point and that’s not something Apple usually makes public. John Gruber things this product is pretty much DOA and will never be released.
    Unless management got rolled by promises from engineering and technical problems became worse as time passed. I bet management never saw a working prototype in the lab but took the word of whoever was in charge that it would eventually work. Or it could be something like we hear from the armchair engineers in this forum who blather about how "easy" it would be to add this or that feature/function with out knowing a damn thing about hardware or software engineering. A charging platform that will charge three devices at once? Piece of cake until they actually tried to build the thing.

    The real black eye for Apple would be for them to cancel the project and then have Belkin or some other third party manufacturer come out with a working product.
    Why blame the engineers? Maybe the engineers said it couldn’t be done but management said make it happen. 

    Either way, someone or multiple people screwed up. 
    stompy1STnTENDERBITS
  • Reply 10 of 19
    lkrupp said:
    Very surprised Apple ever announced this on stage. It clearly was vaporware at that point and that’s not something Apple usually makes public. John Gruber things this product is pretty much DOA and will never be released.
    Unless management got rolled by promises from engineering and technical problems became worse as time passed. I bet management never saw a working prototype in the lab but took the word of whoever was in charge that it would eventually work. Or it could be something like we hear from the armchair engineers in this forum who blather about how "easy" it would be to add this or that feature/function with out knowing a damn thing about hardware or software engineering. A charging platform that will charge three devices at once? Piece of cake until they actually tried to build the thing.

    The real black eye for Apple would be for them to cancel the project and then have Belkin or some other third party manufacturer come out with a working product.
    If we believe the leaks it seems more like engineers were raising red flags. I’m going to take a wild guess that inside Apple it’s rarely the engineers over promising anything.
    1STnTENDERBITS
  • Reply 11 of 19
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,280member
    nunzy said:
    Apple never releases products until they are fully baked.
    And they used to never announce them unless they were. Apple has had several delays in row now, which is very atypical for them. Yes, they’ve had a few delays over the years, but lately, they are announcing products and features with delayed release dates, and then missing those.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    lkrupp said:
    Very surprised Apple ever announced this on stage. It clearly was vaporware at that point and that’s not something Apple usually makes public. John Gruber things this product is pretty much DOA and will never be released.
    Unless management got rolled by promises from engineering and technical problems became worse as time passed. I bet management never saw a working prototype in the lab but took the word of whoever was in charge that it would eventually work. Or it could be something like we hear from the armchair engineers in this forum who blather about how "easy" it would be to add this or that feature/function with out knowing a damn thing about hardware or software engineering. A charging platform that will charge three devices at once? Piece of cake until they actually tried to build the thing.

    The real black eye for Apple would be for them to cancel the project and then have Belkin or some other third party manufacturer come out with a working product.
    If we believe the leaks it seems more like engineers were raising red flags. I’m going to take a wild guess that inside Apple it’s rarely the engineers over promising anything.
    From Gruber I have the impression that engineers on the project are too ambitious (or too naive) and engineers from other departments who saw the designs (no way the management can do a design) thought that design could never work. 
    edited September 17
  • Reply 13 of 19
    It needs a flux capacitor? Great Scott!
    That's heavy, doc...
    king editor the grate
  • Reply 14 of 19
    It needs a flux capacitor? Great Scott!
    They probably shouldn't have aimed for 1.21 gigawatts.
    ireland
  • Reply 15 of 19
    irelandireland Posts: 17,470member
    It needs a flux capacitor? Great Scott!
    They probably shouldn't have aimed for 1.21 gigawatts.
    They need a Mr. Fusion.
    king editor the grateStrangeDays
  • Reply 16 of 19
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 320member
    Just deliver over the air wifi charging and be done with it.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    A
    nunzy said:
    Apple never releases products until they are fully baked.
    Oh you have no clue on history of Apple products. This sounds very juvenile claim.
    nunzy
  • Reply 18 of 19
    lkrupp said:
    Very surprised Apple ever announced this on stage. It clearly was vaporware at that point and that’s not something Apple usually makes public. John Gruber things this product is pretty much DOA and will never be released.
    Unless management got rolled by promises from engineering and technical problems became worse as time passed. I bet management never saw a working prototype in the lab but took the word of whoever was in charge that it would eventually work. Or it could be something like we hear from the armchair engineers in this forum who blather about how "easy" it would be to add this or that feature/function with out knowing a damn thing about hardware or software engineering. A charging platform that will charge three devices at once? Piece of cake until they actually tried to build the thing.

    The real black eye for Apple would be for them to cancel the project and then have Belkin or some other third party manufacturer come out with a working product.
    Why Belkin? It is already on the market and it s branded as Anker. https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Qi-Certified-Ultra-Slim-Compatible-PowerPort/dp/B0756Z8X82/ref=sr_1_4?s=wireless&ie=UTF8&qid=1537201146&sr=1-4&keywords=wireless+charger&dpID=31BYsRelNVL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch
  • Reply 19 of 19
    lkrupp said:
    Very surprised Apple ever announced this on stage. It clearly was vaporware at that point and that’s not something Apple usually makes public. John Gruber things this product is pretty much DOA and will never be released.
    Unless management got rolled by promises from engineering and technical problems became worse as time passed. I bet management never saw a working prototype in the lab but took the word of whoever was in charge that it would eventually work. Or it could be something like we hear from the armchair engineers in this forum who blather about how "easy" it would be to add this or that feature/function with out knowing a damn thing about hardware or software engineering. A charging platform that will charge three devices at once? Piece of cake until they actually tried to build the thing.

    The real black eye for Apple would be for them to cancel the project and then have Belkin or some other third party manufacturer come out with a working product.
    Why Belkin? It is already on the market and it s branded as Anker. https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Qi-Certified-Ultra-Slim-Compatible-PowerPort/dp/B0756Z8X82/ref=sr_1_4?s=wireless&ie=UTF8&qid=1537201146&sr=1-4&keywords=wireless+charger&dpID=31BYsRelNVL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch
    You don’t understand what he’s saying. 
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