Apple engineers reportedly testing new prototype AirPower with A11 processor

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2020
An AirPower device codenamed C68 is allegedly now in testing with engineers, and Apple is said to have fixed its previous problems by adding an A11 processor to manage the device's overheating.

The original and never released AirPower wireless charging mat
The original and never released AirPower wireless charging mat


Following recent claims that Apple is revisiting the idea of an AirPower charging mat, the same source says that company's engineers are now testing what is being known as "C68."

According to Jon Prosser, Apple is currently sending prototypes to the homes of engineers working in the company's Sharing and Proximity networking team. This team is reportedly working on software communication between this device and others.

While working from home, engineers on Apple's Sharing and Proximity' team are receiving prototype units of something called "C68".

They are being asked work on software communication between devices for a "future product" that has an A11 inside to "dynamically manage heat". pic.twitter.com/q4UvnF4ksx

-- Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser)


Prosser, who shows an out of focus image of one edge of such a device, claims that Apple has addressed its previous problems by adding an A11 processor to manage the device.

"Because the Apple Watch uses a tweaked proprietary charging method," says Prosser, "it requires more energy to charge. In previous prototypes, if you placed an Apple Watch on the mat alongside other devices, the entire mat would overheat, and in most cases, combust. (Not joking.)"

"Using the A11," he continues, "this new prototype has the ability to route power to specific coil regions and can dynamically wait for temperatures to drop before applying more power - preventing it from overheating."

AirPower was first announced in 2017, when it was the subject of a rare Apple sneak peek at a future product. After continued delays, though, it was officially and publicly cancelled 19 months later.

While the company gave no reason beyond how it "will not achieve our high standards," it has been believed that the issue was to do with overheating.

Friday's report is Prosser's second mention that the AirPower wasn't completely killed by Apple. Both reports come after established analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed, in January 2020, that Apple was planning to release what he only described as a "smaller wireless charging mat," in the first six months of 2020.

Kuo did not call this mat AirPower, and the claim that it is "smaller" suggests that it wouldn't have the AirPower's ability to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods simultaneously. Consequently, if there is a revised AirPower being prototyped, it may not be the same device as this smaller mat.
cornchip
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Why would monitoring heat need an A11 processor?

    What is it so complicated that you need such a powerful (and presumably expensive?) CPU?
    netroxWarrenBuffduckhrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 58
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,959member
    An A11? I wonder how that might affect pricing and if they plan to add more (expandable?) functionality to it to squeeze more out of the A11. Or if it it will be a stripped back version of the A11.

    For the rumoured functionality at present, it seems there should be no end of chips on the market to handle those areas.
  • Reply 3 of 58
    Umm that’s gonna be an expensive charging pad. Although ones from Belkin and Nomad are pretty steep too. 
  • Reply 4 of 58
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 2,557member
    avon b7 said:
    An A11? I wonder how that might affect pricing and if they plan to add more (expandable?) functionality to it to squeeze more out of the A11. Or if it it will be a stripped back version of the A11.

    For the rumoured functionality at present, it seems there should be no end of chips on the market to handle those areas.
    edited April 2020
  • Reply 5 of 58
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member
    what!! lol that would be awesome. 

    We’re using the Native Union Drop XL, which has a slimmer and better build quality than the Mophie we returned, but it’s not perfect. Separate cable for Watch, and have to be sure you get devices to the right spot. $130. 

    edited April 2020 caladanian
  • Reply 6 of 58
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,122member
    The, now old, A11 probably cost Apple somewhere in the region of $15 to $20, at the most. The costs of that design have been amortized long ago. So production costs will be much cheaper today, as it’s also on an older process whose costs have been amortized.
    edited April 2020 tmayMisterKitBeatspscooter63cornchiprazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 58
    sjworldsjworld Posts: 94member
    Umm that’s gonna be an expensive charging pad. Although ones from Belkin and Nomad are pretty steep too. 
    It’s Apple so it will sell. They can polish a turd, slap their logo on it, and BOOM!!...sold for $299.99.
    pujones1Beatschemengin1
  • Reply 8 of 58
    Irony that charging Qi non-compliant stuff like AppleWatch is so complicated that it requires an A11. Now reverse charging on an iPhone will never happ... oh wait...
  • Reply 9 of 58
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,498member
    avon b7 said:
    An A11? I wonder how that might affect pricing and if they plan to add more (expandable?) functionality to it to squeeze more out of the A11. Or if it it will be a stripped back version of the A11.

    For the rumoured functionality at present, it seems there should be no end of chips on the market to handle those areas.
    More than likely, the A11 was chosen as it has the first dedicated Neural Engine in an A Series SOC, and I would speculate that it is a binned part at a lower clock than the iPhone.

    Still, if true, then one would have to question when Apple will drop in a more powerful A Series into the Apple TV. Just a couple of minor features added, and it would be much more suitable for Home Theater.
    BeatsStrangeDaysrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 58
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    So this means we’re now relying on software to stop it bursting into flames?  

    Mmmm. 


    cornchipelijahgdewme
  • Reply 11 of 58
    Is there any advantage to charging an AW flat?  Every charging solution that I've seen, that looks even remotely functional, has the AW being charged at a right angle or at 15-30 degrees.  It would seem awkward to charge an AW on a flat mat and it loses any of the utility of the screen.  Place anywhere charging is a solved problem.  Incorporating the AW charging only seems to add complexity with no tangible benefit.  To me this seems more like an exercise that answers the question of "Why?" with "because we can".
    WarrenBuffduckh
  • Reply 12 of 58
    I'm holding out for Apple-branded C-4.
  • Reply 13 of 58
    j2fusionj2fusion Posts: 143member
    I’m not sure why Apple can’t design the pad with 3 sliding coils sandwiched in the pad and have the control (A11 or whatever) magnetically move the coils into proper position under each device no matter where they are on the pad. Since it wouldn’t use multiple overlapping coils, heat would not be a problem. I’m not an engineer so perhaps moving the coils wouldn’t work. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 58
    I think there is more to the story than just managing heat. Communication with devices on the pad, other devices in the room, and possibly devices in the home. Not HomeKit would be sweet. U1 chip, too? Who knows what engineers are dreaming up! Dream up ideas folks and enjoy the ride >
    StrangeDayswatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 15 of 58
    Rayz2016 said:
    So this means we’re now relying on software to stop it bursting into flames?  

    Mmmm. 


    Yup. Same as your phone.
    pscooter63cornchipStrangeDaysrevenantchabigrazorpitlolliver
  • Reply 16 of 58
    I'm holding out for Apple-branded C-4.
    Running chargeOS!
    larryacornchip
  • Reply 17 of 58
    thttht Posts: 4,131member
    The reasons stated in this article about needing an A11 sound crazy. I'm not even sure I buy into the overheating comments.
    elijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 58
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,108member
    jjjjjjjj said:
    Why would monitoring heat need an A11 processor?

    What is it so complicated that you need such a powerful (and presumably expensive?) CPU?
    If only there were an article somewhere that one could read, and that could help explain these questions...
    pscooter63cornchipStrangeDaysmr lizardwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 19 of 58
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,122member
    Rayz2016 said:
    So this means we’re now relying on software to stop it bursting into flames?  

    Mmmm. 


    All lithium chargers have some sort of computer circuit to regulate charging, if it isn’t built into the device, so that things won’t overheat and explode.
    StrangeDaysrevenantchabigrazorpitwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 20 of 58
    Here's the thing I discovered using a similar, flat charging matt. The way the sport watch bands sit, if you lay the watch flat, it starts to lift up in the middle, pulling the back of the watch far enough away from the matt that it doesn't consistently charge. Also, your sport loop or other closed watch band will prevent you from charging unless you take at least one end off. So a flat AirPower may not be able to charge the watch without removing the bands. Not ideal.
    Japheycornchipwatto_cobra
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