AirPower was announced along with iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X at Apple's September event … in 2017. It was a preview, not a release, and Apple said it would be available only in 2018. Since then, iPhone X has come and gone and another September event along with it. Now it's November 2018 – late November – and AirPower is stillhere to be found.
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2017: AirPower Year Zero
Recently, when Apple makes a big change, it likes to announce a big halo product to go with it. The best example is AirPods. The iPhone 7 may have slowed the headphone jack, but it gave us one of the most innovative electronic products we've seen in recent years. Custom W1 chips – Small PCs enable quick pairing, switching between linked devices, and solid sync of left and right rock, no cables needed.
They were announced during the September 2016 event that will fall later. Apple also provided pre-release versions to reviewers to test so they could get full iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 experience. They ended up late in a few months. Available for orders December 16th and in stores by December 20th.
AirPower was probably thought it was similar if not the same. iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X. They pulled the metal backrests and gave us Qi-based inductive charge. Nothing innovative on its own – Phones have been charging inductively for a decade – but Apple seemed to show not only its commitment to technology but its commitment to push it forward. It was AirPower. Not just an inductive pad or can handle the new iPhones, but a super-pad that can be recharged to two iPhones, or an iPhone, Apple Watch 3 or later, and even a pair of AirPods in a new inductive charge, all fall into their own.
That would change the story from Apple finally joining the inductive charging club until Apple is Apple and makes inductive charge in a slicker, smarter way than anyone in the club.
They did not announce coming later that year but as coming the following year. Briefly the spring of the following year on a web page. But everywhere – and eventually an updated version of that page – simply next year.
2018: AirPower Year One
Apple Post February 7, 2018:
According to a tipster at the American Best Retail Store, Apple is preparing to launch the AirPower Wireless Charger and the new AirPod wireless bag in March, claiming that Best Buy will store AirPower from an online and online store.
Mac Otakara March 23, 2018:
Regarding information as reliable, similarly, AirPower is said to be due to selling it in March and Qi wireless charging with Apple Watch Series 3 on AirPower, it is detected with a special wave and it is possible that Qi wireless charge same when using the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable.
With Apple, its built-in Wireless AirPower Charging Plate began at the end of March
But spring came and went, and the March event and the new 9.7-inch iPad with it. But no AirPower. The summer came and went, and WWDC and IOS 12 with it. But still no AirPower.
Mark Gurman, writes for Bloomberg on June 21, 2018:
Apple did not say when it was going to release AirPower in 2018, but engineers hoped to launch the charger in June. The purpose is now to sell it before or in September, according to one of the people. In recent months, some Apple engineers have tested the device by using it as a charger in the office, another person said.
AirPower was still on Apple's website, albeit only on the AirPods page, and only referring to the wireless charging bag that is currently unavailable.
Mark Gurman writes for Bloomber on September 10, 2018:
AirPower Wireless Charger: This is Apple's charging plate that can simultaneously charge an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods without plugging in. The company met development challenges, but plans to start it as soon as this month, Bloomberg News reported earlier this year.
Fall came and went, and September and October events, new iPhones and iPads at large. But, yes, still no AirPower.
John Gruber, writes for Daring Fireball on September 15th:
What I've heard, third hand but from several small birdies, is that AirPower really is really fucked. Something about multi-coil design gets too hot – far too hot. There are engineers who looked at AirPower's design and said it could never work, thermal, and now the same engineers like "told you so" have a look at their faces. Last year Apple was obviously weakened by arguments that they could figure out a way to make it not hot. They were clearly wrong. I think they either have to go back to the drawing board and start over with a completely different design, or they have decided to give up and they just do not want to say that.
On September 16, 2018, Sonny Dickson, who was previously known for finding demo units of preproduction iPhone and other devices from the Chinese supply chain, published what he continued with AirPower:
Currently, the unit produces excessive heat, which causes performance losses and may affect the charging capacity of the devices if they become too hot in the process. It also affects the ability of Apple's Custom Charge Chip, which runs a decommissioned version of IOS, to work as intended.
The mechanism used for multi-device charging, which we can confirm, consists of between 21 and 24 power coils of different sizes to accommodate the three main products to be charged (AirPods equipped with non-existent non-existent accessories for wireless charging accessories, iPhone and Apple Watch), which is divided into three identical charging groups, proves to be extremely difficult to build or refine, and has resulted in significant interference up to this point, which reduces the efficiency of the loading mat and contributes to the heat problems faced by engineers.
On September 17, 2018, Binyamin Goldman wrote for Apple Toolbox:
According to two independent sources, Apple has discontinued AirPower as we know, and it will not be displayed at an event planned by the company for October.
The decision to cancel the device was made in the last month and half an hour, and discussions on the next step have recently begun.
People familiar with the project said the company plans to start working with a less ambitious wireless charging accessory for launch in early 2019. It is currently unclear whether a future device will receive AirPower monics or if the brand will be broken.
Apple Watch 4 came with a version of Milanese Loop that could be opened, so it could work with AirPower. However, it was undoubtedly planned in good time. But with the launch of the iPhone XS and iPhone XR, AirPower remained on the documentation included in the package, which is much easier to replace much later in the release cycle, especially for the usually fast Apple.
Place the iPhone with the screen upward on AirPower or a Qi certified wireless charger.
According to Guilllermo Rambo, writing for 9to5Mac on September 20, it also remained in the code:
Looking at iOS 12.1, we noticed that the component of iOS responsible for charging interface management shown when using AirPower has been updated, which means that Apple is still actively working on the project.
On October 23, 2018, Kuo Ming-Chi reported, via MacRumors:
According to Kuo, Apple could start new AirPods and AirPower either late in the fourth quarter of 2018 or early in the first quarter of 2019, but he is not yet aware of the company's specific plans.
Apple has launched products in December before. AirPods, of course, 2016 and Smart Battery Case for iPhone 6s 2015. But that's not really the norm. HomePod, announced at WWDC in June 2017, coming later that year and then delayed in early February 2018 after AirPlay 2 proved to be more challenging to spike than originally expected.
2019: AirPower Year Three
If a December launch is not included in the AirPower cards and the lack of sound leading up to the last month of the year, it seems more likely than the beginning of next year, whether February or March is the next likely window.
If the project is really in trouble or even interrupted, like the rumor, and another project with the same name or similar for simple purpose, do not quickly get bogged up, then it may be good to be longer.
"Great artists ship." "Apple ship." Is one of the core tenants in the company. But delays on everything from AirPods to HomePod, and most specifically, AirPower has put the tenant on the test. There may therefore be no special halo accessories announced along with this year's iPhone or iPad. New Modular Mac Pro killed a long way back in 2017, but not against: Apple has learned the dangers of deviating from its strategy, and does not hurt it can cause them when the forecasts do not match the finish line.
Where is AirPower? I'm doing you better: Why is AirPower?
AirPods challenged and changed our expectations as to how intangible wireless headphones really could feel. Even at its best, AirPower probably would not have done it for inductive charging. Not how ubiquity should. Not the way to have every table in every cafe and restaurant, ever trick in every drive-part and plane, with inductive charge everywhere.
And it takes more than one charger that can handle a variety of devices. It takes a variety of devices that can all be charged in the same way.