Just about a year ago, the longest-running piece of vaporware in Apple history, the AirPower wireless charging pad, was canceled after 562 days. The ambitious product was designed to charge an iPhone, an Apple Watch and an AirPods wireless charging case simultaneously. It was unveiled on September 12th, 2017 at the same time that Apple introduced the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X; not coincidentally, those were the first three iPhone models to carry support for wireless charging.
If Apple does revive AirPower, it could face some new competition
Analyst Jon Prosser disseminated a tweet today in which he wrote that at Apple, the AirPower project is active once again. Prosser says that Apple has started building prototypes of the device. The engineers working on the project are looking at ways to "re-engineer" the coils to better handle the heat generated by them.If you were hoping to buy AirPower only to be crushed when Apple shut down the project, we might have some good news for you.
Prosser spoke with our own Joshua Swingle who told him exclusively that to improve the heat displacement on the new AirPower, white-dyed leather is being considered as a replacement. The original AirPowel units were going to use silicon on the outside of the device. Prosser also said that glass is another material being considered by Apple, but the focus is on the use of leather.
Apparently, not everything about the revised AirPower is moving ahead swimmingly. Prosser says that none of the current prototype units work with the Apple Watch and the company refuses to release a version of the wireless charging pad that isn't compatible with Apple's hot-selling smartwatch. As a result, the engineers are rebuilding the product from scratch.
You might recall that the AirPower cancellation was announced just days after we noticed some signs that seemed to indicate that the unveiling of the product was imminent. One clue was a diagram found on the box containing the second-generation AirPods release. The illustration showed an oval-shaped product similar to the shape of the AirPower wireless charging pad and an arrow indicating that the AirPods wireless charging case should be placed on the pad. That box showed up two days before Apple announced the cancelation of AirPower.
Earlier this month, we told you about Logitech's Powered 3-in-1 wireless charging pad. Sound familiar? It also Charges an iPhone, an Apple Watch and the AirPods wireless charging case all at the same time. And while it is priced at the same $129.99 that Apple was reportedly going to charge for AirPower, it uses a very different design than the one that Apple drew up for its pad.
Even more interesting, back in October a company named Aira made a pitch on ABC-TV's Shark Tank for a wireless charging surface that allows devices to charge in any orientation thanks to a design it called "FreePower." This product charges multiple devices simultaneously using a different type of wireless power coil matrix, patented circuitry and proprietary algorithms that track the location of a device on the surface. When the pad determines that a device is located on a certain spot on the pad, it then activates "sweet spots" that charge the device.
Three Sharks (Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec) combined to invest $500,000 in Aira for 15% of the company. Mark Cuban decided against making a bid and his reason should serve as a warning to Apple and other manufacturers. He believes that Over the Air (OTA) charging will eventually allow smartphone users to walk into a room with very little battery life and walk out of that room fully charged. It should be noted that Aira has yet to unveil a finished version of the wireless charging pad.
Will Apple be able to revive AirPower? Will it even be relevant with all of the competition the product could face? If you are a fan of the concept, better keep both fingers and toes crossed.