Apple's AirPower charging mat may not be cancelled after all

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 62
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,012moderator

    Cool. I thought of a better idea that I may send to Apple. Wonder if Cook will read it?

    Might as well tell the ideas:

    1. AirPower with a rechargeable battery. So you can disconnect it, slip it in your suitcase/purse/whatever and charge anywhere on the go!

    2. Rename it: AirPad.
    A standard wired charging solution, like that used today to charge iPhones, iPads and MacBooks contains within the power brick a step down transformer, along with AC to DC conversion and other power management circuitry.  Transformers and AC to DC conversion circuitry are not 100% efficient, resulting in losses, in the form of heat.  But direct [wired] charging is going to likely remain the most efficient because there’s only that one step in getting power from the source to the device.

    Wireless [inductive] charging, like any Qi charging pad, and Apple’s AirPower, will still come with a brick that plugs into a wall socket, to step down the voltage and manage the power against spikes, but it also adds another step, the transfer of power between the pad and the device, via inductive coupling.  This adds loss to the process, as magnetic fields spread out in all directions, and the device being charged intersects only part of the magnetic field.  I’m imagining Apple, with its environmental bent, is already sensitive to this issue.  

    Note that the power brick in this case will perform a different function versus a standard iPhone or iPad power brick.  It will provide an AC output rather than a DC output, because that’s what the inductive charging coil needs, and this is more efficient circuitry versus that found in an iPhone or iPad power brick.

    A portable, rechargeable AirPower charging pad would re-introduce the less efficient AC to DC power brick, to charge the unit’s battery, and then add yet another layer of power loss, in the form of a DC to AC inverter needed to convert the DC power from its internal battery back to AC needed to oscillate the magnetic field generated by the pad’s charging coil. The best type of inverter is one that generates a near pure sine wave.  These inverters are efficient, up to 90-96%, but they are also a relatively expensive component, especially those that generate the most pure sine waves, which I think you’d want for driving an inductive charging coil.  So both additional power loss steps and added cost may be a concern for Apple when considering a portable AirPower pad.  
    edited January 12 mwhite
  • Reply 22 of 62
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,219member
    Wait - a few months ago supply chain rumors about iPhone sales were totally wrong but now it’s ok to believe them about the  AirPower? I’m confused. 

    As as far as AirPower goes, it looks neat, but seems like a product whose development costs may price it out of the market. For the money, I’d rather have this: https://www.target.com/p/belkin-powerhouse-charge-dock-for-apple-watch-iphone/-/A-51528378
    edited January 12
  • Reply 23 of 62
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,347administrator
    MplsP said:
    Wait - a few months ago supply chain rumors about iPhone sales were totally wrong but now it’s ok to believe them about the  AirPower? I’m confused. 

    As as far as AirPower goes, it looks neat, but seems like a product whose development costs may price it out of the market. For the money, I’d rather have this: https://www.target.com/p/belkin-powerhouse-charge-dock-for-apple-watch-iphone/-/A-51528378
    Sources of information matter. So does context -- there have always been production cuts for seasonality in December. This is allegedly the start of construction.

    Also, FTA, sentence one: "If reports out of the Chinese supply chain can be believed, Apple's AirPower charging accessory has very recently begun mass production with an established Apple manufacturing partner building the device."
    edited January 12 Rayz2016
  • Reply 24 of 62
    FYI - Here’s one way to keep your Apple Watch topped off on the go.....
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1906973834/opso-a-power-bank-refining-how-you-charge-apple-wa/description
  • Reply 25 of 62
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,219member

    lenn said:
    Why does anyone really care about this thing? It's years overdue, will be way overpriced and there are better, cheaper things out there that due the same thing. Oh yea because there are idiots that pay $1k plus for a phone that will buy this thing. lol
    I imagine one reason it’s taken longer is that inductive charging is lossy compared to direct wired charging.  Apple cares about the environment and part of that means using less power to perform the same compute tasks, to the extent possible.  I think Apple achieves this in its products relative to competition, by owning the design of, and optimizing, most of the technology stack, from battery to circuitry to software (OS).  Apple won’t like want to negate those efficiency gains with a lot of loss in the charging process, so you may expect to hear in any AirPowrr announcement/marketing about charging being more efficient than the bulk of the competition.  
    This is my biggest beef with inductive charging. It’s not really that much more convenient than plugging in a lightning cable, IMO, but there’s somewhere around a 30% power loss. If you multiply that by the number of iPhones out there you have a ton of energy being pointlessly wasted. Even if Apple is better than anyone else, they won’t be better than a lightning cable. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 26 of 62
    chasm said:
    As near as I can make out -- with some hints from helpful little birds -- this is what I believe happened:

    1. Apple execs were shown the innovative prototype, loved it, put it into production.
    2. Engineers discovered a serious issue (overheating) in quality testing.
    3. I believe the engineers resolved the issue only a few months later, but this involved some further innovation and changes in the design.
    4. New extremely thorough testing, new patents filed, new manufacturing process, wait for patents to be approved, et cetera = quite a long time.

    And thus here we are. While the silence was annoying, Apple never cancelled the product. I'd much rather they resolve the problem before sales commenced than do what most other companies would do -- sell the product knowing there could be an issue, and then do a recall after a few houses burnt down/people were injured.

    I'm hopeful this report is accurate and that in a few weeks Apple will make an announcement.

    I think this is close. My take is that they had a couple problems to work out, and seriously underestimated how long it would take to get right.

    Specifically I think the problem was the idea of placing a device anywhere on the mat and have it charge without having to worry about getting it perfectly centered. Directing the power to the device is the difficult part to solve.

    Wireless (inductive) charging is a very simple technology. There’s no way it would take Apple (or a first year engineering student) this long to make a simple charging pad. This is why I firmly believe AirPower will have the ability to “beam” charging to any device no matter its orientation on the pad.
  • Reply 27 of 62
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    ElCapitan said:
    When I worked in Apple product management we did not announce a product till it was working and available. 
    Generally good advice, but inversely people whine if Apple is silent too. As for this time, I’m sure they had it in the bag but sometimes shit happens. 
    My favourite example of this is people who whine that Apple doesn’t release enough upgrades, then whine some more when Apple released an upgrade just after they bought the device. 

    “Just after” being anywhere between one and six months. 
    edited January 13 williamlondoncaladanianStrangeDaysmwhite
  • Reply 28 of 62
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member

    lenn said:
    Why does anyone really care about this thing? It's years overdue, will be way overpriced and there are better, cheaper things out there that due the same thing. Oh yea because there are idiots that pay $1k plus for a phone that will buy this thing. lol
    Who is the bigger idiot?

    The fool why buys the iPhone. 

    Or the fool who hangs around forums banging on about a phone he can’t afford. 

    At least the iPhone fool can return his phone if he thinks it’s too expensive. 

    But the forum fool will just stay in the forum, LOLling his own comments. 


    edited January 13 williamlondonRonnnieOStrangeDaysNotsofaststompymwhite
  • Reply 29 of 62
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    Cool. I thought of a better idea that I may send to Apple. Wonder if Cook will read it?

    Might as well tell the ideas:

    1. AirPower with a rechargeable battery. So you can disconnect it, slip it in your suitcase/purse/whatever and charge anywhere on the go!

    2. Rename it: AirPad.
    I have a feeling they don’t need your ideas. 
    This is actually a perfect example of armchair design. 

    A device with a rechargeable battery, with the charging coils on top of it. The device is already heavier. 

    It’s also thicker and hotter, so we can call it the KatiePricePad or the AirMaxiPad
  • Reply 30 of 62
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    chasm said:
    As near as I can make out -- with some hints from helpful little birds -- this is what I believe happened:

    1. Apple execs were shown the innovative prototype, loved it, put it into production.
    2. Engineers discovered a serious issue (overheating) in quality testing.
    3. I believe the engineers resolved the issue only a few months later, but this involved some further innovation and changes in the design.
    4. New extremely thorough testing, new patents filed, new manufacturing process, wait for patents to be approved, et cetera = quite a long time.

    And thus here we are. While the silence was annoying, Apple never cancelled the product. I'd much rather they resolve the problem before sales commenced than do what most other companies would do -- sell the product knowing there could be an issue, and then do a recall after a few houses burnt down/people were injured.

    I'm hopeful this report is accurate and that in a few weeks Apple will make an announcement.
    Something like this perhaps, yes. Though I would be surprised that such a problem wouldn’t have been detected in the design phase, before hand toting production, and certainly before making an announcement. 

    I wondered if the design was sound enough, but with they decided that it needed to be reworked for power efficiency: more of an environmental issue than a technical one, perhaps. 

  • Reply 31 of 62
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,995member
    MplsP said:

    lenn said:
    Why does anyone really care about this thing? It's years overdue, will be way overpriced and there are better, cheaper things out there that due the same thing. Oh yea because there are idiots that pay $1k plus for a phone that will buy this thing. lol
    I imagine one reason it’s taken longer is that inductive charging is lossy compared to direct wired charging.  Apple cares about the environment and part of that means using less power to perform the same compute tasks, to the extent possible.  I think Apple achieves this in its products relative to competition, by owning the design of, and optimizing, most of the technology stack, from battery to circuitry to software (OS).  Apple won’t like want to negate those efficiency gains with a lot of loss in the charging process, so you may expect to hear in any AirPowrr announcement/marketing about charging being more efficient than the bulk of the competition.  
    This is my biggest beef with inductive charging. It’s not really that much more convenient than plugging in a lightning cable, IMO, but there’s somewhere around a 30% power loss. If you multiply that by the number of iPhones out there you have a ton of energy being pointlessly wasted. Even if Apple is better than anyone else, they won’t be better than a lightning cable. 
    You have to look at the total cost of charging. Even if inductive chargers are less efficient in terms of power transfer the overall charging costs could be reduced by using intelligent sensing on when full power needs to be applied to the charging coils. If you use a conventional wall mounted charger and leave it plugged into the power source even when there is no device connected, the charger itself probably continues to consume some amount of power. It's probable that the Lightning connector uses sense lines to determine when a device is connected for charging and reduces the power draw when there is no load. However, even with sense lines to determine device presence the wall mounted charger is still consuming power in the rectifier and filtering circuitry because the sense lines are on the low voltage DC side of the charging circuit. Apple's charging mat obviously has proximity sensors for determining when a device is placed on it. It may use the primary coils themselves to detect device presence, but with no device present the current draw would be very small due to reflected impedance so copper losses would be low. The hope is that Apple has more opportunities with the charging mat to be more aggressive about reducing ambient power consumption when no devices are present. It would be interesting if Apple presented a write-up that described overall power consumption with the AirPower charger. They do have keen awareness of these concerns and undoubtedly factored energy consumption concerns into their product design. Whether they determined that convenience still outweighed energy concerns is something they or a product testing lab could easily describe.       
    caladanian
  • Reply 32 of 62
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,012moderator
    dewme said:
    MplsP said:

    lenn said:
    Why does anyone really care about this thing? It's years overdue, will be way overpriced and there are better, cheaper things out there that due the same thing. Oh yea because there are idiots that pay $1k plus for a phone that will buy this thing. lol
    I imagine one reason it’s taken longer is that inductive charging is lossy compared to direct wired charging.  Apple cares about the environment and part of that means using less power to perform the same compute tasks, to the extent possible.  I think Apple achieves this in its products relative to competition, by owning the design of, and optimizing, most of the technology stack, from battery to circuitry to software (OS).  Apple won’t like want to negate those efficiency gains with a lot of loss in the charging process, so you may expect to hear in any AirPowrr announcement/marketing about charging being more efficient than the bulk of the competition.  
    This is my biggest beef with inductive charging. It’s not really that much more convenient than plugging in a lightning cable, IMO, but there’s somewhere around a 30% power loss. If you multiply that by the number of iPhones out there you have a ton of energy being pointlessly wasted. Even if Apple is better than anyone else, they won’t be better than a lightning cable. 
    You have to look at the total cost of charging. Even if inductive chargers are less efficient in terms of power transfer the overall charging costs could be reduced by using intelligent sensing on when full power needs to be applied to the charging coils. If you use a conventional wall mounted charger and leave it plugged into the power source even when there is no device connected, the charger itself probably continues to consume some amount of power. It's probable that the Lightning connector uses sense lines to determine when a device is connected for charging and reduces the power draw when there is no load. However, even with sense lines to determine device presence the wall mounted charger is still consuming power in the rectifier and filtering circuitry because the sense lines are on the low voltage DC side of the charging circuit. Apple's charging mat obviously has proximity sensors for determining when a device is placed on it. It may use the primary coils themselves to detect device presence, but with no device present the current draw would be very small due to reflected impedance so copper losses would be low. The hope is that Apple has more opportunities with the charging mat to be more aggressive about reducing ambient power consumption when no devices are present. It would be interesting if Apple presented a write-up that described overall power consumption with the AirPower charger. They do have keen awareness of these concerns and undoubtedly factored energy consumption concerns into their product design. Whether they determined that convenience still outweighed energy concerns is something they or a product testing lab could easily describe.       
    AirPower will still have a power brick at the wall outlet, with a step down transformer and power management circuitry (to deal with power spikes, for example).  It won’t have the rectifier circuitry, but it’ll likely exhibit some ambient draw on par with existing iPhone/iPad power bricks.  Perhaps less, but hard to imagine enough less to offset to inefficiency of inductive coupling as a charging method. 
    edited January 13
  • Reply 33 of 62
    lenn said:
    Why does anyone really care about this thing? It's years overdue, will be way overpriced and there are better, cheaper things out there that due the same thing. Oh yea because there are idiots that pay $1k plus for a phone that will buy this thing. lol
    The bigger idiots are those that think a computer in your pocket is a “phone”.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 34 of 62
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 633unconfirmed, member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    Cool. I thought of a better idea that I may send to Apple. Wonder if Cook will read it?

    Might as well tell the ideas:

    1. AirPower with a rechargeable battery. So you can disconnect it, slip it in your suitcase/purse/whatever and charge anywhere on the go!

    2. Rename it: AirPad.
    A couple devices like that exist already… the catch is that you want some way to stick your device to it while it's bouncing around in your bag. I think one has some suction cups… 

    https://www.amazon.com/mophie-Powerstation-Wireless-External-Smartphones/dp/B01JCIJ2PO

    https://www.amazon.com/DoSHIn-Portable-20000mAh-External-Wireless/dp/B07H5BG6TH
    Oops didn't make myself clear. Good devices BTW.

    What I meant is you can pull it out and it already has held a charge. So you can be at a friends coffee table playing video games and you pull it out and charge your iPhones etc.

    Would still be cool if AirPower 2 had this feature. 
  • Reply 35 of 62
    Its too late we now want a bigger version than that  not only that theirs replica version of this that cost lower an does a good job , it's a old product that doesn't need to exist, apple needs to create a bigger like a 30% bigger version to have multiple iphones to charge on it including the apple watch an airpods , btw I hate the damn airpods they make no sense 4 hours of battery life? 159$ does not make sense when powerbeats are now 80 dollars which I bought an has 12 hours of usage smh 
    Airpods make complete sense. 5 hours, recharge in minutes, carry in your pocket anywhere you go, priced power than other brands. They are a solid win.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 36 of 62
    ElCapitan said:
    ElCapitan said:
    When I worked in Apple product management we did not announce a product till it was working and available. 
    Generally good advice, but inversely people whine if Apple is silent too. As for this time, I’m sure they had it in the bag but sometimes shit happens. 
    People have always whined because Apple is too silent. Offset to that is the lack of trust that builds over time when promised products or services don't materialize. – Which IMO is worse.

    It is not like this is the first time this happens lately. 
    Dear lord. The “lack of trust” only exists in your mind and that of other techies debating on rumor sites. Normals do not care. They don’t follow rumor sites, don’t know expected launch dates, and just buy stuff when it’s available and enjoy the value derived.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 37 of 62
    MplsP said:
    Wait - a few months ago supply chain rumors about iPhone sales were totally wrong but now it’s ok to believe them about the  AirPower? I’m confused. 

    As as far as AirPower goes, it looks neat, but seems like a product whose development costs may price it out of the market. For the money, I’d rather have this: https://www.target.com/p/belkin-powerhouse-charge-dock-for-apple-watch-iphone/-/A-51528378
    Ew. That thing is in no way a substitute for AirPower. I imagine one of the nice things about Airpower will be traveling with it. One cable, put it on the nightstand in your hotel and toss your devices on it before bed.
  • Reply 38 of 62
    MplsP said:

    lenn said:
    Why does anyone really care about this thing? It's years overdue, will be way overpriced and there are better, cheaper things out there that due the same thing. Oh yea because there are idiots that pay $1k plus for a phone that will buy this thing. lol
    I imagine one reason it’s taken longer is that inductive charging is lossy compared to direct wired charging.  Apple cares about the environment and part of that means using less power to perform the same compute tasks, to the extent possible.  I think Apple achieves this in its products relative to competition, by owning the design of, and optimizing, most of the technology stack, from battery to circuitry to software (OS).  Apple won’t like want to negate those efficiency gains with a lot of loss in the charging process, so you may expect to hear in any AirPowrr announcement/marketing about charging being more efficient than the bulk of the competition.  
    This is my biggest beef with inductive charging. It’s not really that much more convenient than plugging in a lightning cable, IMO, but there’s somewhere around a 30% power loss. If you multiply that by the number of iPhones out there you have a ton of energy being pointlessly wasted. Even if Apple is better than anyone else, they won’t be better than a lightning cable. 
    Different use cases. Tossing multiple devices onto a surface to charge when time isn’t a pressing concern is indeed easier than plugging three devices into three different cables and possible multiple outlets.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 39 of 62
    MplsP said:
    Wait - a few months ago supply chain rumors about iPhone sales were totally wrong but now it’s ok to believe them about the  AirPower? I’m confused. 

    As as far as AirPower goes, it looks neat, but seems like a product whose development costs may price it out of the market. For the money, I’d rather have this: https://www.target.com/p/belkin-powerhouse-charge-dock-for-apple-watch-iphone/-/A-51528378


    Interesting Belkin product, kind of makes Apple's point why they are taking the time to get it right before they ship.  You picked a $100 charger that

    1) Doesn't work with the latest iPhone so purchasers who updated are angry they spent a $100 to have a useless device. 
    2) Lots of complaints about it not charging properly when both devices are on at the same time
    3) Lots of complaints about it not working after a few months.
    4) Only works with two devices at a time, instead of three.
    5) Won't likely charge AirPods

    And this is from Belkin, which is one of the better 3rd party manufacturers. Imagine what is happening to your devices with some of these $20 chargers.   Charging can really mess up a device's battery, and these multiple device chargers have an even greater potential to do so by over/under charging, etc.  Another reason to appreciate Apple's conservative approach to releasing this product.





  • Reply 40 of 62
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,400member
    MplsP said:

    lenn said:
    Why does anyone really care about this thing? It's years overdue, will be way overpriced and there are better, cheaper things out there that due the same thing. Oh yea because there are idiots that pay $1k plus for a phone that will buy this thing. lol
    I imagine one reason it’s taken longer is that inductive charging is lossy compared to direct wired charging.  Apple cares about the environment and part of that means using less power to perform the same compute tasks, to the extent possible.  I think Apple achieves this in its products relative to competition, by owning the design of, and optimizing, most of the technology stack, from battery to circuitry to software (OS).  Apple won’t like want to negate those efficiency gains with a lot of loss in the charging process, so you may expect to hear in any AirPowrr announcement/marketing about charging being more efficient than the bulk of the competition.  
    This is my biggest beef with inductive charging. It’s not really that much more convenient than plugging in a lightning cable, IMO, but there’s somewhere around a 30% power loss. If you multiply that by the number of iPhones out there you have a ton of energy being pointlessly wasted. Even if Apple is better than anyone else, they won’t be better than a lightning cable. 
    That’s a pretty subjective opinion as well. Many times I put my phone in its car cradle, and forget to plug the Lightning cable into it, only realizing it when I get to my destination that the phone didn’t charge. I mostly charge the phone in my car while commuting, and the surplus power provided when it’s running is of course not wasted even if it’s 30% less efficient than plugging in a wire. Not having to think about plugging in a cable would be quite convenient.

    At home, I drop the phone into a charging stand. But I don’t have those stands everywhere. Many a night I’ve forgotten to plug in a phone laying on my nightstand. If there had been a charging pad for me to drop it onto, I wouldn’t have had to think about it. To say nothing about being able to just drop three devices onto the same mat and have them all charge without having to worry about three separate cables. Is the convenience worth the less efficient energy transfer? Well that’s a matter of opinion, and a highly subjective one at that, and preference.
    mwhite
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