Apple Cancels Air Power
A year and a half and several delays later, Apple has officially pronounced its wireless charging dock project “AirPower” dead.
Dan Riccio, Apple’s Senior VP of Hardware Engineering, said in a statement on Friday that the company had canceled the project after concluding that the Air Power wireless charger would “not achieve our high standards”.
First announced in September 2017, right around the time Apple acquired Oceania-based inductive charging startup PowerByProxi, AirPower was advertised as the first product to wirelessly charge an iPhone, AirPods and the AirPods charging case simultaneously. The company put a loose 2018 shipping date around it but as 2018 came and went, there was no word on the project.
Most modern Wireless Charging tech uses electromagnetic coils to charge devices via induction. While most chargers work only in a specific orientation within a 4cm radius, Apple aimed to remove that limitation by reportedly adding at least a dozen more coils to the dock.
Industry pundits have long speculated that the issue in the development of AirPower had to do with the overlapping copper charging coils needed in order to modulate the power output to facilitate the needs of three Apple devices all carrying disparate charging specifications. Being able to automatically adjust power output on the basis of the device, the tightly crammed coils and a high number of them at that left analysts and engineers.
The demise of the AirPower project seems to have become a focal point for Apple’s latter-day habit of announcing products that push the envelope, yet not being able to ship them on time. The AirPods also had an infamous delay before becoming widely available and were shipped in small batches before finally hitting their stride and becoming a cultural phenomenon, much to the amusement of the internet.
That’s where the bad news ends. By all means of logic, Apple made the right decision by shelving an incapable product instead of shipping a device with subpar performance and throttling issues. Perhaps they took a lesson from Samsung’s Note 7 debacle: better to have no Air Power than to be powerless, gasping for air.