Video shows canceled Apple AirPower wireless charging mat in action for the first time

Video shows canceled Apple AirPower wireless charging mat in action for the first time
A working prototype of the AirPower wireless charger that Apple announced in 2017 alongside the iPhone X and canceled in 2019 has emerged online.

Developer Giulio Zompetti has uploaded a short video on Twitter that shows the AirPower charging an iPhone. As Apple's marketing material had indicated, the battery percentage is being displayed on the phone's screen.

Apple had initially planned to ship the AirPower in 2018. It was supposed to simultaneously charge three devices: an iPhone, AirPods with charging case, and Apple Watch. The idea was that consumers would be able to juice up their devices no matter where they were placed.

This led to complex circuitry with multiple charging sensors and components of different sizes which supposedly caused overheating issues. A teardown video that emerged last year shows that the device had 14 coils.

Zompetti got his hands on the AirPower prototype through Chinese e-waste sources and his unit has 22 coils on the front and 22 controller circuits on the back, The Verge reports. The mat has a stainless steel body and only works with special prototype iPhone hardware.

He uses a serial lightning cable to make it work and has so far been able to charge two devices simultaneously. He hasn't noticed any overheating.

The charger allegedly had an Apple chip that ran a toned-down version of iOS. It was placed inside for handling on-device power management and device pairing. This only added to challenges as the platform reportedly had a lot of bugs.

The device was seemingly pretty far along in development when it was scrapped. Per a 2018 report, Apple engineers were using it as their charger at their offices. The in-box paperwork of 2018's iPhone lineup also referenced the charger and 2019's AirPods had a photo of a charging mat on the box. The company also acquired the AirPower trademark a month before shelving the project.

Apple has not given up on AirPower

For now, Apple is concentrating its efforts on the magnet-based MagSafe system. Last month, the company launched the MagSafe Battery Case for the iPhone 12, and it is currently said to be working on a MagSafe system for next year's iPad Pro.

At the same time, it is also said to be looking for ways to revive the AirPower charging mat. The Cupertino giant is also exploring wireless charging solutions that can work over greater distances than inductive connections. It could be several years before we see the fruits of these efforts though.

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