NEW DELHI: It’s a rare sight from a brand like Apple to officially announce a product and then completely forget about it. We are talking about the AirPower wireless charging mat. First introduced in 2017, Apple was expected to launch the Qi-certified AirPower charging mat in 2018. And as we now step into 2019, there is still no word from Apple about a possible launch date, in fact, Apple is not even updating us as to whether it will ever be launched or not.
Apple first introduced Qi wireless charging with the launch of iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X smartphones in 2017. During the same Apple Event, the Cupertino tech giant showcased another product called AirPower, which is essentially a wireless charging mat that can simultaneously charge an iPhone (which supports wireless charging), Apple Watch and AirPods. Apple said that AirPower “is work in progress” and showcased a prototype of the device promising to reveal more details in 2018.
But Apple decided to stay quiet throughout 2018 and did talk anything about the AirPower.
It is believed that the AirPower has hit some major development roadblock. Reports suggest that the delay is possibly to due technical difficulties in making it. The engineers are apparently finding it difficult to create a product as per the expectation of Apple.
According to Apple’s initial plans, it intended to use multiple charging coils in the AirPower mat to cover the entire surface area. This is because Apple wanted to allow users to keep their iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods anywhere on the mat and not restrict them to certain areas where the coils are located underneath. To cover the entire area of the AirPower mat, the engineers have put around 24 overlapping coils.
This design aspiration is creating problems for Apple as engineers are struggling to get even delivery of output power across the AirPower mat. Also, these multiple coils are causing the mat and the devices to get heated up dangerously. Now, this excessive heating is causing a drop in performance of the iPhone and Watch.
Apart from the hardware limitations, there are challenges on the software front too. For example, during tests, iPhones were unable to show critical data like time left to charge or showed inaccurate battery percentage.