A standard wireless charging mat
One year after publicly canceling the project, Apple is understood to have revived the AirPower charging mat under the codename ‘Calisto.’ The new device was allegedly pictured for the first time recently and now new information about the planned launch timeline and pricing has emerged.
Expect AirPower in either late 2020 or early 2021
Speaking on the Gadget Cast podcast
recently, Tipster and YouTuber Jon ‘Jern’ Prosser
revealed Apple is hoping to release the new version of AirPower during either the final quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021.
That timeline could change if further overheating issues are encountered, but it suggests Apple’s working extremely hard right now to get the product on shelves as soon as possible ahead of the 2021 iPhone with no ports.
A release towards the end of this year means AirPower could make an official appearance in September alongside the iPhone 12. The original was introduced at the annual event in 2017, although it wasn’t ready and had no firm release date beyond ‘2018.’
The original AirPower charging mat
But Apple probably won’t repeat the same mistake again and is only expected to announce the product once it's ready for production. If that means pushing the release to early 2021, the Cupertino giant may choose to unveil the wireless charging
mat at its annual March event.
Regardless of when the launch happens, though, earlier reports suggest it could be accompanied by a more basic wireless charger that can charge only one device at a time. This should be a budget alternative for Apple customers.
The price Apple has planned is ridiculously high
The Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charger for AirPods
, Apple Watch
, and iPhone that is sold through the Apple website retails at $119.95. It works brilliantly but doesn’t offer the feature that makes AirPower so unique – the ability to charge a device anywhere on the mat.
Admittedly, most people won’t be concerned about this, but it’s how Apple plans to stand out from the competition and it's exactly why the rumors of a $150 or $200 price tag for AirPower weren’t that surprising.
AirPower could cost twice as much as Mophie's 3-in-1 product
But now that Apple has revived the project, it seems the Tim Cook-led company is aiming even higher when it comes to pricing. Specifically, Jon Prosser believes the new AirPower will retail at $250.
How is Apple making AirPower work this time?
The current AirPower prototype is known internally as C68 – the 68th prototype of Calisto – and features fewer yet larger coils to reduce the chances of it overheating. Apple faced countless heat issues with the original AirPower when it came to charging multiple devices at once because of the Apple Watch, which uses proprietary charging technology.
This new AirPower version also replaces the A10 Fusion chipset with the newer A11 Bionic. The latter is being used with two cores deactivated but is the first chip from Apple to dynamically manage heat, something the company is taking full advantage of.
New AirPower concept render by Front Page Tech
To combat the overheating issues that caused so many prototypes to combust, the A11 Bionic can route power to specific coil regions when necessary. It can also wait for temperatures to drop before applying more power.