You’d be forgiven for forgetting about AirPower – a wireless charging mat that Apple announced alongside the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X – which happened to be their first devices to support wireless charging.
This gadget – which was supposed to be able to charge three devices at once – never actually made it to market, but now it might be in the works again.
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In his latest Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman (a journalist with a good track record for Apple leaks) claimed to believe the company was still working on a multi-device charger.
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There’s no news on when it might launch or whether it would still be called AirPower, but Gurman claims that Apple plans to eventually release this.
And that’s not all, Gurman adds that Apple “is working on short and long distance wireless charging devices and that it imagines a future where all of Apple’s major devices can charge each other. Imagine an iPad charging an iPhone and then that iPhone charging AirPods or an Apple Watch.”
So it sounds like a multi-device charging mat could just be the beginning, and with long-distance charging you might not need a mat at all – or at least not one that the devices would have to physically be in contact with.
As for Apple devices that can charge each other, we’ve already seen similar tech over in Android land, with the Samsung Galaxy S21 for example sporting reverse wireless charging – so you can place a smartwatch or earbuds on the back and use the phone as a charging mat for them.
Given that this tech is already available elsewhere we could see this being the first of these charging initiatives to land – perhaps even with the iPhone 14.
Of course, we’d take all of this with a pinch of salt for now, but with rumors of a portless iPhone, it seems clear that Apple is committed to improving its wireless charging offerings, so these claims are certainly believable.
Analysis: what went wrong with AirPower?
Quite simply, AirPower just didn’t meet Apple’s standards. More specifically, it reportedly had a heating problem due to the presence of 20 charging coils inside a small space.
Apple seemingly couldn’t find a way to manage the heat, and eventually abandoned AirPower as a result.
Whispers of AirPower still being in the works have emerged since, but most leaks still suggested it was dead. So if Apple really is working on something similar again that’s big news, though it remains to be seen whether the heat management problem has been solved.
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