Monday, September 17, 2018

The Curious Case of AirPower

John Gruber:

I wrote about AirPower’s absence earlier this week. What I’ve heard, third-hand but from multiple little birdies, is that AirPower really is well and truly fucked. Something about the multi-coil design getting too hot — way too hot. There are engineers who looked at AirPower’s design and said it could never work, thermally, and now those same engineers have that “told you so” smug look on their faces. Last year Apple was apparently swayed by arguments that they could figure out a way to make it not get hot. They were, clearly, wrong. I think they’ve either had to go completely back to the drawing board and start over with an entirely different design, or they’ve decided to give up and they just don’t want to say so.

Marco Arment:

The craziest part of @gruber’s AirPower report, if correct, is that they decided to announce it to the public before having a working solution to a critical engineering challenge that, if unsolvable, would be fatal to the product.

Bob Burrough:

Now that everyone’s asking “why did they announce it if it wasn’t ready?” Go back and review this thread from February of this year.

Marko Karppinen:

Adding wireless charging years after others in 2017 and simultaneously announcing AirPower feels to me like they just didn’t think Qi was good enough. Had they known AirPower wouldn’t work out… I wonder if they would’ve done wireless charging at all.

Sonny Dickson (via Benjamin Mayo, MacRumors):

We have managed to obtain several pieces of exclusive information that shed some light on what challenges Apple is currently facing with the project. According to our sources, the broad feeling of many working the project at Apple is that the device may be doomed to failure, and may not be viable at all unless significant advancements can be made.


Chatter from less notable individuals involved with the project further suggest that the AirPower concept and trademark are likely to be applied to an all new product, which will include unmentioned features, to be publicly shown at an undisclosed date “not likely to occur before Spring”.

Binyamin Goldman:

We have now confirmed with two independent sources that Apple has cancelled the AirPower wireless charger.

John Gruber:

After I published what I’ve heard, a wise and knowledgeable little birdie told me that it’s not at all uncommon for a project at Apple to have massive resets multiple times. [Cough, Titan.] What is unusual regarding AirPower is that it’s happened in the open, for the world to see. That is to say, the real mistake may not be a flawed coil design or whatever, but rather the decision to announce it when they did, before those problems were solved.

Previously: September 2018 Apple Event, AirPower Status and Removing the Lightning Port, Pre-Announcing AirPower.

Update (2018-09-19): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2018-09-20): Russell Ivanovic:

Apple: AirPower? What’s that. Never heard of it. Don’t know what you’re talking about!?


Update (2018-09-24): Guilherme Rambo (MacRumors):

Looking into iOS 12.1, we noticed that the component of iOS responsible for managing the charging interface that appears when using AirPower has been updated, which means that Apple is still actively working on the project.

Furthermore, a picture of the “getting started guide” that comes packaged with the iPhone XS clearly mentions AirPower. “Place iPhone with screen facing up on AirPower or a Qi-certified wireless charger,” it reads.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

You can also charge your iPhone wirelessly just by placing it within a mile of the spot they buried Steve Jobs. /spinning

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