It’s not often that we’re witness to vaporware products from Apple, but AirPower definitely fit that category. The wireless accessory – which was supposed to charge an iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch simultaneously -- was first announced alongside the iPhone X way back in September 2017, and was supposed to launch in 2018. However, 2018 came and went with no sign of the device.
Today, Apple confirmed what many thought was coming anyway: AirPower has been canceled. The Cupertino, California-based company made the announcement in a statement to TechCrunch, which reads:
After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.
AirPower was to use a multi-coil design to enable it to charge up to three devices at once, but the engineering challengers inherent with such a design were too much for the company to overcome. Apple insider John Gruber talked about the troubles with the project back in September, a year after AirPower was first announced.
“What I’ve heard, third-hand but from multiple little birdies, is that AirPower really is well and truly f—ked,” said Gruber at the time. “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.”
Sonny Dickson added, “What is thought to be a significant factor in the ongoing engineering struggle is that three different sizes of coils must overlap within each coil set, which, combined with the very compact size of the device, makes managing interference and heat an extremely daunting technical challenge.”
Given this, why did Apple even bother to announce AirPower 18 months ago if it hadn’t yet worked out the kinks?
— Chris J. Caine (@ChrisJCaine) March 25, 2019
What’s interesting is that this might have been a rather recent decision by Apple to kill off AirPower. Just last week, references to AirPower were found in recent iOS 12.2 beta and a silhouette of the device is featured on the retail box for the AirPods 2 earbuds.