When Apple first introduced wireless charging to the iPhone back in 2017, it promised an all-in-one charging mat dubbed ‘AirPower’ was coming soon. AirPower was a multi-device wireless charger designed to be able to power up an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods case simultaneously, without care for specific placement on the mat.
Turns out that although the concept is straightforward, the reality from an engineering standpoint is much more complicated. What followed was an 18-month saga of delays and excuses and rumors before the AirPower project was finally put out of its misery. Here’s the coverage we wrote during that period…
Now, four years on from that ill-fated announcement, rumors of AirPower are stirring once more. A report from Bloomberg alleges that Apple’s research team is still working on the project as part of a wider study of charging technologies.
If true, that’s big news. Not only could AirPower one day see an actual release, it might end up even more capable than first promised.
For example, Apple is reportedly researching different methods of long-range and short-range wireless charging. Not only could this improve the functionality of a proposed AirPower mat, it might even pave the way for a charging mat that doesn’t have a wire trailing out the back to the wall socket either. Truly wireless.
Apple is also experimenting with device-to-device wireless charging, which could potentially be used to recharge an iPhone by placing it onto an iPad or MacBook – devices with much larger batteries that can afford to share some juice with iPhone. Some Android manufacturers have already unveiled similar technologies, though nothing is widespread just yet – and remember that typically Apple likes to wait for a technology to mature before introducing its own version.
But whatever ends up being released, it’s good to see Apple persevering with its research and testing. You never know, we could be announcing AirPower sooner than we think…