Monday, August 12, 2019

RIP AirPower, But Great Gadget Chargers Abound

Mitchel Broussard:

Twelve South today launched the “PowerPic,” a traditional wooden picture frame that includes a hidden, 10W wireless charger. You can place any 5" x 7" photo in the PowerPic, and then to charge an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XS, XS Max, or XR, you simply place the device on top of the photo.

Twelve South says that the idea behind the PowerPic was to create a Qi charger that would not add to the clutter of a bedside table or desk, so that when your iPhone (or any compatible Qi smartphone) isn’t charging, it just looks like any other framed picture in your home.

Joe Rossignol:

Belkin today introduced its BOOSTUP Wireless Charging Dock for wirelessly charging an iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time. There is also a USB-A port for charging a third device like an iPad via Lightning cable.

Julio Ojeda-Zapata:

If you like the notion of charging an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once, you have options. I evaluated a lot of wireless and wired chargers in this category. I zeroed in on a handful I like, but they are not without their annoyances.

Samuel Axon:

To be clear, this does not fully realize the vision Apple originally laid out for AirPower. Whereas AirPower could charge three devices in any combination—say, two iPhones and a Watch, or two Watches and one AirPods case, or three iPhones—the mophie pad has a dedicated spot for each device type: iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. Further, the Watch doesn’t actually charge on the mat; it charges on a distinct surface that protrudes from the mat. And for AirPower, Apple imagined a software solution that would display on your iPhone’s screen the charge status of every device on the mat. The mophie pad doesn’t offer that.

Michael Kummer:

To charge an iPhone as quickly as possible, I recommend abandoning the 5W power brick and upgrading to a more powerful adapter. The good news is that you might already have a faster charger at home.


8 Comments RSS · Twitter

Maybe it’s just me, but a lot of stuff coming out of Apple lately just doesn’t appeal: wireless charging, AirPods, the Watch, Touch Bar, FaceID... obviously a lot of people love it, but to me much of it seems like “technology for the sake of technology.” I have wireless charging on my iPhone 8 and I’ve never once even thought “maybe I should use this” because it’s slower than wired charging (plus I already have 2.0A USB power plugs on every power strip in my apartment). The other technologies I don’t even own, which is weird because there was a time not so long ago that I wanted everything that Apple made. Have I changed or has Apple?

(And when I read rumors that the next iPhone will have reverse charging in it so you can charge your AirPods from the phone I feel like they must have lost their goddamn minds, because that seems like a super, super niche feature for a very limited number of users, yet we can’t even get normal ubiquitous USB-A ports or SD card slots on MacBook Pro anymore — but I digress)

Everything that Ben G said PLUS Apple may have had good reason to kill Airpower, like too many charge cycles by “just laying your deviceon a mat.” That might lead to angry endusers and too much battery servicing, et cetera.

@Ben I’m not interested in the Watch or Touch Bar, Face ID is OK (slower than Touch ID but more convenient sometimes), AirPods and wireless phone charging are great.

@ Ben

> Maybe it’s just me, but a lot of stuff coming out of Apple lately just doesn’t appeal: wireless charging, AirPods, the Watch, Touch Bar, FaceID... obviously a lot of people love it, but to me much of it seems like “technology for the sake of technology.”

When it comes to AirPods and Apple Watch: if they are popular, sell well and customers are happy then how can they be “technology for the sake of technology”?

I have neither of those technologies or products but based on sales, general popularity and users that I know personally I would say that some of them are really well made for a great purpose. Apple Watch is the number one smart watch and from what I've seen, heard and read most users enjoy them. And AirPods are just insanely popular, like the number one gadget all categories. FaceID seems like on par with Touch ID at least, sort of like Michael describes it above. Wireless charging was something every other phone maker had before Apple and it seemed to be a general demand for it.

Touch Bar on the other hand – that one I could define like ”technology for the sake of technology”. It seems somewhat useful for some tasks but generally just add costs for little or none gain and I would be happy to get the buttons back.

My point is mainly that to me a lot of this stuff just isn’t much better than the alternative. I have $25 Anker Bluetooth earbuds that I custom molded (another $5) that sound great. I’ve tried Apple’s earbuds before, they’re terrible and don’t seal well, and the sound is nothing special. Why pay $200 for wireless that don’t even have noise canceling? Or a phone with FaceID is like an extra $300 but is (was) basically the same as my iPhone 8 — TouchID is fine. Watch I can’t think of a single use case that would benefit me. I don’t want iMessage or email on my wrist. Etc etc etc. but I do eventually want a new MacBook Pro with a functional keyboard and USB and SD. Maybe in stuck in the past but I don’t own a single USB C device and I’ve actually never seen one in the wild, except maybe an Android phone.

@Ben G
Could you tell me what model of Anker earbuds and what you did for custom molding? I am intrigued. Thank you.

"Anker Soundcore Spirit Sports Earbuds" $25

"Polly Plastics Silicone Molding Putty 1/2 lb" $19 (enough to mold at least 8 pairs of earbuds)

This combo sounds GREAT to my ears. The earbuds are pretty good by themselves, but with custom molds they really shine. It was super easy to do. There are lots of guides online.

@Ben G
Wow! Thanks! I will look into it. This is very promising.

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