Why today's AirPods announcement hints that Apple will release AirPower soon
On Tuesday, Apple introduced two new tablets, the Apple iPad Air (2019) and the Apple iPad Mini (2019). This morning, the second generation AirPods were unveiled. So that leaves Apple's long awaited AirPower wireless charging pad yet to be given a release date. And today, The Wall Street Journal said that it might not be too long a wait for the MIA product to finally makes its appearance. Introduced in September 2017 along with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, the AirPower pad allows someone into the Apple ecosystem to wirelessly charge an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and the AirPods wireless headphones all at the same time.
The financial newspaper says that the reason for its optimism is based on something it noticed about Apple; the company normally announces a new product not long after it starts to mass produce a device. It was in January when Luxshare Precision, the contract manufacturer that also assembles the AirPods, started rolling the AirPower wireless charging pad off of the assembly line. Pegatron, another company used by Apple to manufacture some of its products, is also involved in churning out AirPower units.
That AirPower has been delayed by problems that Apple faced in producing the accessory has not gone unnoticed. Last June, nearly 10 months ago, it already qualified as the tech giant's longest running "vaporware." At that point, it had been 275 days since the product was announced. That number has now ballooned to 554 days and still counting. One of the problems involving AirPower was that Apple's design was called "impossible" by some of the companies in the Apple's Taiwan based supply chain, especially considering that the company already promoted the "ultrathin" form factor of the product.
Today's unveiling of the new AirPods hints that AirPower will be released soon
A patent that surfaced in December for AirPower mentioned some features that might not yet be ready for the initial version of the accessory. Regardless of which devices are on the pad at the same time, AirPower will send information on the status of each device charging to the one with the largest screen. So if you're charging an iPhone 8, an Apple Watch and your AirPods simultaneously, the current battery percentages will be sent to the iPhone 8. But if you replace the AirPods with the iPhone XS Max, the battery status information will automatically be sent to that unit instead.
Another feature listed in the patent will warn you if there is not enough battery life on your iPhone to make it to your next charging opportunity when you remove it from the pad. This is calculated by the phone by taking a peek at your calendar and then calculating how much battery power you need to make it through the next scheduled event. The patent envisions the warning coming in the form of a vibration, or a voice that tells you that you need to charge your phone longer in order to make it through the next meeting.
This morning's unveiling of the second-generation AirPods was an important one that might hint at an impending release of AirPower. That's because the both first and second generation AirPods can be charged wirelessly using a special carrying case built specifically for this purpose. The new AirPods with the wireless charging case are $199, while the case alone is $79. Would Apple have released the new AirPods now if the launch of AirPower wasn't right around the corner?
As for pricing, there has been talk that Apple plans on charging $149 for the wireless charging pad. The beauty of owning the accessory is that it will remove the need for all of those wires you currently have strewn around your room to charge up your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods.