You still might be wondering, where in the world is Apple’s AirPower 3-in-1 wireless charging pad? Well, it probably will not arrive for at least a few more months.
The AirPower has been a complete no-show since it was announced along with iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X, and now we can know what is delaying its launch.
Apple presented AirPower at a press event last September. The company uses the wireless charger as an ideal solution for iPhone, Apple Watch, and other accessories. The device is a white panel that allows you to place Apple devices anywhere and upload them wirelessly. Apple also promised to launch a case for its AirPods wireless headphones that would allow it to charge wirelessly in the AirPower.
There was some hope that AirPower would be available at the beginning of 2018, but this did not happen. And with every month that passes with Apple without even mentioning the existence of AirPower, there has been some concern that it never reaches the store shelves.
According to Bloomberg sources, however, Apple has worked quietly on many issues, including ensuring that the charger does not overheat and allows users to place their devices anywhere in the AirPower and upload them again. In fact, using multiple Apple charge sensors to create a scenario where users put many widgets on AirPower at the same time, which other operators do not offer, has been a problem, according to the report.
So, What Caused the Delay?
The AirPower has not been publicly discussed by Apple ever since they announced it. The engineers of the company worked to solve the problems. A challenge is to make sure that the charger does not overheat. Another is the complexity of the circuits, according to people who are familiar with the development of the device. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
Unlike wireless chargers currently on the market, the AirPower is designed to charge three devices simultaneously: an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and AirPods.
Apple also wants users to be able to place their devices anywhere on the loading platform to initiate an upload. This ambitious goal requires the company to pack the AirPower with multiple load sensors, a process that proved difficult, the people said. The charger was structured from custom load technology, which seeks to integrate with the standard Qi rate, said the company last year.
An Apple executive partner, who makes third-party charging for the iPhone, who asked not to be identified, said the multi-device charging mechanism is challenging to build because it likely requires differently sized charging components for the three types of devices, which would all overlap across the mat.
The AirPower charger is also more advanced than the current competition, which includes a custom Apple chip running a reduced version of the iOS mobile operating system for power management on the device and pairing with devices. Apple engineers have also worked to eliminate errors related to onboard firmware, according to well-known people.
Apple did not say when it would launch AirPower in 2018, but engineers expected to launch the charger in June. The goal now is to put it on sale before or in September, according to one of the people. In recent months, some Apple engineers have increased the device tests using it as a battery charger at the office, said another person.
“Fortunately, Apple learns a lesson to advertise products that will surely be sent sooner or later after they have announced,” said Ben Bajarin, research analyst Creative Strategies. Still, it sees a long-term impact, because the AirPower product is part of a much larger strategy, which will take place over the years, not months or quarters.
These problems, in addition to solving software bugs and other adjustments, have required a longer wait than expected.
If Apple plans to launch AirPower on the given date, it is likely to announce it in this year’s iPhone presentation, which is usually held in early September. But as recent history has shown, Apple may be forced to delay the AirPower further if it faces another problem.
There’s still no rumored idea of how much it will cost, but it’s probably not going to be cheap. Not to mention, to get the full experience you need to purchase an AirPods-enabled wireless charging case.
Will the long wait for AirPower be worthwhile? It’s hard to say until we know how much it costs. But if Apple can build a wireless charging platform that is more reliable than the existing ones, it might be worth it.