Apple cancels AirPower wireless charging mat, citing quality issues

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 29
Apple has dropped the axe on the AirPower mat, for reasons as of yet unknown, and will not produce the device.

Phil Schiller offering a sneak peak at the AirPower charging pad back in 2017
Phil Schiller offering a sneak peak at the AirPower charging pad back in 2017


Apple Senior Vice President Dan Riccio made the announcement in a statement to AppleInsider and other venues on Friday afternoon.
After much effort, we've concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.
This cancellation of AirPower comes around 19 months after Apple gave a 'sneak peek' of it at the September 2017 iPhone event. Problems with design and manufacturing have previously seen mention of AirPower all but removed from Apple's website so at times it was rumored to be cancelled. Persistent rumors and even a hidden image on Apple's site appeared to suggest it would be launched alongside the AirPods.

What appeared to be a leak of the AirPods packaging included a drawing of what was clearly an AirPower charger. Yet, that graphic was not present on the shipping AirPods that AppleInsider examined.

Neither AirPods nor iPhones require Apple's own wireless charger as they can work with any Qi system. The Apple Watch, however, does need either AirPower or the wireless charging puck that the watch ships with.

It isn't presently clear what specific part of the AirPower was causing problems. The AirPower mat was more than a trio of charging coils, and appeared to utilize a series of cooperative flux generators to charge a device after locating it on the pad in software, which likely led to complications in design and manufacture.

Apple's hands-on demonstration from 2017 showed this in-action, and AppleInsider was able to put multiple devices anywhere on the pad, in any order. After doing so, the AirPower was communicating with the charging devices, and the iPhone on the pad was displaying information about the other charging devices.

Apple wiped mention of the AirPower from its website in September during the iPhone XS launch, and didn't mention it at all during that presentation.

AppleInsider has reached out to Apple for comment on specific reasons why the AirPower was cancelled.

With AirPower officially dead, customers waiting for a first-party multi-device wireless charging solution from Apple are out of luck. AppleInsider rounded up the best alternatives to the product that never was, including a few single-device chargers so good they should not be overlooked.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 228
    So it was always ever vaporware. Nice going, Apple.
    n2itivguypbruttoravnorodomanantksundaramcurtis hannahairnerdrogifan_newcornchippscooter63bluefire1
  • Reply 2 of 228
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,556member
    Ugh. Disappointing. 

    Now I need to return my wireless-charing AirPods for the normal...if a mat can't do all three devices it isn't worth it to me.
    n2itivguymarsorrypbruttomrmacgeekpigybankiOS_Guy80curtis hannahairnerdfastasleepbluefire1
  • Reply 3 of 228
    nobelpeaceprizenobelpeaceprize Posts: 5unconfirmed, member
    Well, that was abrupt! Well good on Apple for finally coming our and telling us the truth. Hopefully they'll give us less "sneak peaks" in the future unless they are sure a product is ready.
    Gabynarwhalmacpluspluscaladanianslprescottagilealtitudecurtis hannahairnerdSpamSandwichargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 228
    Easy come, easy go. 
  • Reply 5 of 228
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,556member
    cecil4444 said:
    So it was always ever vaporware. Nice going, Apple.
    Not really, no. It was in development, people like John Gruber saw and used prototypes. But there was some sort of engineering hurdle that existed between working prototypes and a high-quality, mass-produced device. Who knows what.

    Such is life. We learn by doing, and sometimes by failing. In no way would I chastise Apple over it, other than being optimistic when they pre-announced of course. I'm sure they won't do that again for a long while.
    edited March 29 welshdoglongpathapplesnorangesnarwhalrandominternetpersonhcrefugeeLordeHawkfastasleeppscooter63argonaut
  • Reply 6 of 228
    So very, very disappointing. Ridiculous, really. 
    pbruttoelijahgpscooter63
  • Reply 7 of 228
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,822member
    Is this the first time Apple have cancelled a pre-announced product before it launched?  Only thing even remotely similar I can remember is the 3Ghz G5, which wasn't an announcement so much as a vague promise.

    I wonder if they'll go back to the old favourite of only announcing things that are ready to ship the same day.
    randominternetpersonradioflyerJWSC
  • Reply 8 of 228
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,556member
    n2itivguy said:
    So very, very disappointing. Ridiculous, really. 
    Yes, it is a ridiculous world we live in when real-life engineering problems make my entitlement to consumer goods secondary. Don't they know who I am??

    Dunno, I've launched real-world products before and have experienced the trials & tribulations, and the disappointment when the mass produced product doesn't match how we envisioned it when things are perfect inside our head alone. Real life is funny like that...but what can you do? So perhaps I have a little more engineering empathy and a little less entitlement about these sorts of things compared to what im sure we'll be reading. Agreed that it's disappointing tho, for sure.
    edited March 29 genovellenarwhalchasmrandominternetpersondesignrhcrefugeeLordeHawkpscooter63uraharafirelock
  • Reply 9 of 228
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,759member
    Internally someone will be hurting at Apple for having jumped the gun. With hindsight things often look clearer but these things happen and you have to move on.

    It's disappointing for those who were waiting on the product won't actually get it but it really isn't a big deal whichever way you look at it.
    narwhalairnerdargonautjbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 228
    Where's the courage these days? So disappointed!
    wattouk
  • Reply 11 of 228
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,293member
    n2itivguy said:
    So very, very disappointing. Ridiculous, really. 
    Yes, it is a ridiculous world we live in when real-life engineering problems make my entitlement to consumer goods secondary. Don't they know who I am??
    That’s a strangely personalised attack. 

    The probjrm here for Apple was the early announcement. Be interesting to know who pushed that. 
    airnerd1STnTENDERBITSduervoJWSCchemenginCarnage
  • Reply 12 of 228
    n2itivguy said:
    So very, very disappointing. Ridiculous, really. 
    Yes, it is a ridiculous world we live in when real-life engineering problems make my entitlement to consumer goods secondary. Don't they know who I am??
    How immature. No need to be so aggressive. It’s ridiculous Apple announced a product as early as they did. There’s nothing entitlement related to that at all. 
    gatorguyHenryDJPwilliamhairnerd1STnTENDERBITSpscooter63duervochemengin
  • Reply 13 of 228
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,268member
    Thank Gawd!   Airpower was overrated.   Wireless charging is easy and cheap yet Apple Fanboys had this irrational fixation on Airpower like it was somehow magical.   Let's move on from an idea that wasn't that stellar in the first place. 
    forgot usernameairnerddisneylandmandocno42chemenginCarnage
  • Reply 14 of 228
    chiachia Posts: 698member
    Ugh. Disappointing. 

    Now I need to return my wireless-charing AirPods for the normal...if a mat can't do all three devices it isn't worth it to me.
    https://www.makezens.com/shop/zens-dualwatch-aluminium-wireless-charger/
    forgot username
  • Reply 15 of 228
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 936member
    crowley said:
    Is this the first time Apple have cancelled a pre-announced product before it launched?  Only thing even remotely similar I can remember is the 3Ghz G5, which wasn't an announcement so much as a vague promise.

    I wonder if they'll go back to the old favourite of only announcing things that are ready to ship the same day.
    Then they are being too secretive. I’m sure this move was in response to all the constant leaks so they could be the ones to spill the beans for a change. It didn’t work out.   
  • Reply 16 of 228
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,556member
    mrmacgeek said:
    Where's the courage these days? So disappointed!
    Courage != success. Rocky lost the match at the end of "Rocky", but we didn't care because he had so much heart.
    randominternetpersonpscooter63argonautchia
  • Reply 17 of 228
    So am I right in thinking there are no alternatives out there?
  • Reply 17 of 228
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,556member

    avon b7 said:
    Internally someone will be hurting at Apple for having jumped the gun. With hindsight things often look clearer but these things happen and you have to move on.

    It's disappointing for those who were waiting on the product won't actually get it but it really isn't a big deal whichever way you look at it.
    For once we agree.
    cornchip
  • Reply 19 of 228
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,556member
    n2itivguy said:
    n2itivguy said:
    So very, very disappointing. Ridiculous, really. 
    Yes, it is a ridiculous world we live in when real-life engineering problems make my entitlement to consumer goods secondary. Don't they know who I am??
    How immature. No need to be so aggressive. It’s ridiculous Apple announced a product as early as they did. There’s nothing entitlement related to that at all. 

    asdasd said:
    n2itivguy said:
    So very, very disappointing. Ridiculous, really. 
    Yes, it is a ridiculous world we live in when real-life engineering problems make my entitlement to consumer goods secondary. Don't they know who I am??
    That’s a strangely personalised attack. 

    The probjrm here for Apple was the early announcement. Be interesting to know who pushed that. 
    It's not a personal attack, or aggressive, or immature, in the slightest. I pointed out the bizarre position that feeling entitled to the product makes the real-life engineering failure "ridiculous". It doesn't. These are not easy feats, despite how magical they seem to use.
    edited March 29 mike1randominternetpersonHenryDJPagilealtitudezoetmbpscooter63argonautchia
  • Reply 20 of 228
    Since it was unveiled, I have wondered about the utility of wireless charging in the home especially if you have an Apple Watch or an iPad Pro in addition to your iPhone.

    For me, the solution is the Anker wired charger with one USB-C output for my iPad Pro and four lightning outputs for my iPhone and the Apple watch puck. 

    Outside the home in a coffee place, placing your iPhone on a mat without wires is fine but for home use, wireless charging is unnecessary. That is my opinion but I would be interested in seeing comments on this subject. 
    sapporobabyrtrns
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