YouTuber @Luke Miani demonstrated a working prototype of Apple’s AirPower charging mat which powered AirPods and iPhone for one to two seconds.
Announced in 2017, the AirPower multi-device wireless charging mat was eventually shelved because Apple could not perfect the device’s heat management system. Designed to power iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch simultaneously, the charging mat faced overheating issues because Apple Watch consumes more power than the other devices.
AirPower prototype 2 features 22 charging coils and an FPGA chip
In his demonstration video on YouTube, Miani showed three AirPower prototypes; a square charging mat from before the product was announced, one with 16 charging coils and the third with 22 charging coils.
The oval-shaped charging mats had a charging chip which is found in iPhones, a complex logic board, and a metal grid for the structure and cooling of the device. Luckily, the AirPower prototype with 22 charging coils worked for a few seconds to power AirPods and an iPhone using only one charging coil on the mat.
More interesting, the device had an Altera FPGA chip. The more expensive Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chip is not only indicative of the limitations Apple was facing, but it also hints at pricing issues. With an $80 chip, the price of AirPower would have been on the higher side.
It is likely, that the tech company abandoned the device because of design, performance, and price issues. Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering announced that the company will continue to develop wireless charging tech but not its all-in-one charging mat in 2018.
“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.
Previously, developer @Giulio Zompetti also shared a clip of a working AirPower prototype. However, the charing UI in his clip was different from Miani’s.
In the charging accessories industry, it appears Apple is far behind third-party manufacturers like Pitaka, Anker, Belkin, Otterbox, and Mophie. There are several good all-in-one wireless charging accessories for Apple products in the market that can efficiently power an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods at the same time, some are even sold by Apple officially.
Recently, the tech company launched its first 35W dual USB-C charger, which takes a lot longer to charge two devices simultaneously.