Airpower: Rumored Launch Date, Unexpected Features, and Potential Price
More than two years after its announcement, there might actually be a release date in sight for Apple’s long-lost AirPower wireless charging mat. The device was first teased in 2017 alongside the iPhone X. But since then, it has earned the dubious title of being among most delayed products in company history, trumping the setbacks that hampered the launch of the HomePod and AirPods. But a new year means a new chance for the device to redeem itself.
When Apple’s SVP of worldwide market Phil Schiller ecstatically debuted the AirPower, he flaunted its ability to simultaneously charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. Since then a number of imitators have beat Apple to the punch in readying a product, and the Cupertino-based company hasn’t said a word about the device, leading some to believe that it might have been scrapped for good.
Fortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case. A recently published report — backed up by iOS software update marginalia and a series of recently added job listings that mention the AirPower — suggests the team behind AirPower could readying a triumphant comeback.
Here’s everything we know about the mythical AirPower wireless charger.
AirPower: When Might It Be Released?
Apple has yet to announce a release date for its next batch of products, but a MySmartPrice report published February 11 claims AirPower will arrive this spring. This estimate makes sense, as many of the most credible predictions had AirPower arriving in 2018.
Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman and the analyst Ming Chi-Kuo both predicted that the AirPower would ship late in 2018 as a part of Apple’s year-end product releases. Neither of them hit the mark as the final iPad Pro event of 2018 ended without the wireless charger.
Apple has been selling third-party wireless chargers on its site for years now. That could finally come to an end soon.
AirPower: How Much Will It Cost?
Much like the release date, Apple has yet to reveal an official price tag for the AirPower. But estimates have moved toward a fairly steep asking price.
The MySmartPrice report reiterated the approximate $150 price tag that most rumors and leaks have coalesced around.
During the summer of 2018, Chinese website Chongdiantou reported that “industry insiders” were speculating it could cost 1,000 Chinese yuan, which is roughly $145. And a DigiTimes report that came out during the same time suggested it could cost anywhere from $161 to $193.
That’s notably more expensive than competing products, that are also able to charge more than one device at once.
AirPower: How Will It Be Different?
Wireless chargers aren’t anything new, so the AirPower will need to justify its price with some impressive new features. The MySmartPrice report states that the company is cooking up a handful of unnamed “exclusive features,” but there may still be a catch.
Whatever these newfound capabilities may be they won’t be available until the release of iOS 13, which won’t be here until the second half of 2019. Apple always releases its new mobile software during its September iPhone launch. So if all of this pans out as expected, customers will still need to wait a few months before the AirPower’s new features become available.
The report even went as far as saying Apple is filming AirPower television commercials. Once those commercials air, we should get a pretty clear sense of what the future holds for AirPower.
AirPower: What’s the Hold Up?
This massive delay reportedly comes down to the fact that Apple announced the AirPower before it figured out how to build it.
Gurman reported that engineers have been tirelessly working trying to cram all of the components necessary to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods case into such a small mat. This has caused a myriad of bugs and issues, including overheating, that still seem to be bedeviling the AirPower as the company has yet to provide any updates.
MySmartPrice states that Apple has finally figured out a way to pull it off, but the final product will be thicker than originally expected.
In short, Apple jumped the gun with its teaser.
AirPower: What About the AirPods Wireless Charging Case?
When the AirPower was first teased it showcased a yet-to-be-released wireless charging case for the AirPods. That component might also ship along with the the charging mat in spring, according to MySmartPrice.
An unearthed patent of what could be the wireless charging case was reported on January 15, and depicted it as a small box with sharp edges and an unexpected feature. The case could possibly also be used to cordlessly charge another Apple device, like an Apple Watch, absent the AirPower.
So when you charge your AirPods it might be like placing a small wireless charger on another wireless charger.
AirPower: Apple Has Hinted That It’s Happening
Aside from analysts’ predictions, rumors, and patents, Apple has also hinted that the AirPower isn’t dead.
While 2018 may have left things looking bleak, the sun has yet to set on the AirPower.