Apple predicted to release small wireless charging mat in first half of 2020

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2020
Apple is predicted to release its own branded wireless charging mat in the first half of 2020, according to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, though the product may not be the AirPower stand-in users are hoping for.

AirPower
Apple's defunct AirPower charging mat.


Hedged in a note detailing potential negative effects from the new coronavirus is mention of Apple's major product initiatives for the first six months of 2020.

Specifically, Ming-Chi Kuo anticipates the company to release an affordable 4.7-inch iPhone with LCD screen, iPad Pro refresh and new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models. Along with the usual hardware revamps, the company will supposedly introduce three new products in a previously rumored ultra wideband (UWB) location-tracking tag, high-end Apple brand over-ear Bluetooth headphone and "smaller wireless charging mat."

The charging mat is of particular interest, as Apple attempted -- and failed -- to bring a similar device to market in AirPower.

Teased as a rare public "sneak peek" in 2017, AirPower was an ambitious project that promised free-placement wireless charging of Qi-compatible hardware like iPhone and AirPods, as well as support for proprietary inductive charging tech deployed in Apple Watch.

Initially slated to launch in 2018, the charging mat was hit with multiple delays before Apple ultimately cancelled AirPower in March 2019 citing insurmountable quality issues.

"After much effort, we've concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project," Apple SVP of Hardware Engineering Dan Riccio said at the time. "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."

Kuo fails to detail the upcoming "small wireless charing mat," but considering the relatively recent and high-profile nature of Apple's failure to see AirPower through to fruition, it can be assumed that the upcoming device will not be a resurrection of the recently deceased product. While mere speculation, the device could be a high-quality inductive charger that does for iPhone what the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock did for Apple Watch.

While Kuo has provided highly accurate Apple launch estimates in the past, the analyst's track record on contemporary accessory introductions has been less than perfect. A month before Apple killed AirPower last year, Kuo issued a note claiming the charger would debut within four months. More recently, he predicted Apple's Tile-like tracker would be unveiled alongside iPhone 11 in September.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    On one hand it's clear that Apple haven't given up on wireless/induction charging, on the other hand I don't see Apple producing a stand-alone device after exciting the market with AirPower.

    Sure, there aren't any induction chargers that can charge the Apple Watch, but I don't see this as a compelling point of difference to go up against cheap brands, especially as the watch does last all day.

    The only scenario I could imagine is that Apple take away the charging port on one of their iPhone models and thus need to provide the charging mat with the device (like the Apple Watch), it might be a good idea to test the market by doing this with the rumoured March phone launch.
    Phobos7curtis hannahwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    I can't imagine any other reason behind this than they plan on removing the charging port on either accessories or iPhones. It still seems odd because they were one of the last major phone manufacturers to add wireless charging, and they responded with the promise of air power being the delay, and yet they don't even sell one compatible with iPhones.

    I guess it could be hopeful that they switch from selling Usb A chargers on the basic iPhones and usb C chargers on the Pro models to USB C and wireless chargers respectively without removing the port, but that seems too ambitious.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Keeping up appearances  has always been one of Apples best qualities. Oh. I did not particularly enjoy reading another rumormonger call out Cuo. however that being said I’ve always found Cuo to be a relatively accurate appraiser of apples future intentions . I happen to be one of those people who was anxiously awaiting an air power charging mat and yes I got a little bit disappointed but that’s one of those delayed gratification scenarios. So I realized that what Keeps me coming back to Apple are insanely great products. And if this charging mat does come to fruition this time around, I’ll probably get one but if it doesn’t I certainly can’t see myself calling out Apple engineers. Instead I think I’ll cook dinner with my wife and keep my intrigue dry.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Apple just falls into its own traps.
    watch charging being a proprietary standard was an intrinsically bad idea where they shot themselves in the foot with AirPower, side charging and their future chargers (as long as they don’t admit and change it)
  • Reply 5 of 12
    Wireless charging is convenient, and I'll even admit the possibility of "essential" for some few applications, but gods please do not eliminate the more (by a bit) environment friendly wired charging capability.
    cornchiprazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Apple just falls into its own traps.
    watch charging being a proprietary standard was an intrinsically bad idea where they shot themselves in the foot with AirPower, side charging and their future chargers (as long as they don’t admit and change it)
    The size of the watch and the curved base of the Apple Watch dictated the unique charger, not any particular desire to create a proprietary charger - factually it's still so close to the standard that with a steady hand you can charge the watch with a few standard Qi chargers available on the market.



    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    While I see this as a niche product with limited appeal, I think Wireless charging has what will be an increasingly bright future.  For instance:  as Wireless Car Play becomes increasingly prevalent I see cars incorporating a wireless charging station for the phone.  I.e., no more plugging and unplugging a phone, no more drooping, tangled wires.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    While I see this as a niche product with limited appeal, I think Wireless charging has what will be an increasingly bright future.  For instance:  as Wireless Car Play becomes increasingly prevalent I see cars incorporating a wireless charging station for the phone.  I.e., no more plugging and unplugging a phone, no more drooping, tangled wires.
    I just read an article about work that the DOE Oak Ridge lab is doing using coils to transfer power over a significant air gap to charge electric vehicle batteries. They can send 120 kilowatts over air currently and plan to ramp it up to 350 kw in the future. The idea is to put a charger pad under the asphalt so a vehicle just needs to drive over it to receive charge. Eventually this sort of thing will make its way to consumer electronics so that devices can be powered just by being in proximity to a charger, without needing physical contact. 
    GeorgeBMaccornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,675member
    Wireless charging is convenient, and I'll even admit the possibility of "essential" for some few applications, but gods please do not eliminate the more (by a bit) environment friendly wired charging capability.

    Still haven't seen the wireless charger that lets you use the phone or iPad while charging. I have no real need for it.
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    On one hand it's clear that Apple haven't given up on wireless/induction charging, on the other hand I don't see Apple producing a stand-alone device after exciting the market with AirPower.

    Of course they haven't "given up" on it. The entire iPhone lineup for the past 3 years supports it. They may well ditch Qi eventually and develop their own proprietary charging ( I really hope so).
    Sure, there aren't any induction chargers that can charge the Apple Watch, but I don't see this as a compelling point of difference to go up against cheap brands, especially as the watch does last all day.

    This design was never good. All other multi-device chargers on the market have dedicated Apple Watch spot, usually vertical for nightstand mode. That's all anyone needs and its a worthless effort to try and for it to work on a mat (which wouldn't even work for the $750 stainless steel link bracelet).
    The only scenario I could imagine is that Apple take away the charging port on one of their iPhone models and thus need to provide the charging mat with the device

    LOLOLOLOL. Nope.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    M68000M68000 Posts: 339member
    Not sure why Apple would care about such a thing.  There are now tons of choices that work great,  like the IKEA stuff that goes for about $17, works great for me.  But if there is special use for their idea of a watch, I don’t know, don’t have one. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    Instead of free placement, a mat which uses magnets to align iPhones, watches, and earphone cases to the correct parts of the mat could prove quite popular. 

    Alternatively, the coils inside the mat could be moved internally to align to wherever the devices were placed. 

    Just a thought, something Apple has no doubt considered. 
    watto_cobra
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