Apple retreats on wireless charging, won’t release AirPower

The company promised the charging mat would become available in 2018, but later pushed back that date to sometime in early 2019. (Apple)

Apple announced this week it won’t release the AirPower wireless charging mat, which the company first announced back in 2017. The announcement marks a rare moment for Apple, which typically does not announce products before they are ready for mass production.

 

Apple SVP of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio, said the company has decided to halt work on the project after concluding that the product wouldn’t meet Apple’s high standards. Riccio added that Apple continues “to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward,” in a statement provided to TechCrunch.

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Apple executives promised AirPower would work with Apple’s newer smartphones, the AirPod headphones and the AppleWatch, with the ability to charge multiple devices simultaneously. It also would have helped the devices communicate with one another. Apple’s latest line of phones, including the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, all support wireless charging.

Related: Apple's iPhone revenue down 15% in holiday quarter

But, the announcement, which was made during the iPhone X event in September 2017, appears to have been premature. Apple usually only announces products once they are at least close to being ready to ship. The company promised the charging mat would be available in 2018, but later pushed back that date to sometime in early 2019. Now, after months of media reports indicating the project had run into engineering problems, Apple has admitted defeat.

 

In the meantime, Apple competitors have released their own suites of wireless charging products. Samsung released its Wireless Charging Duo, which can charge two Qi-compatible devices simultaneously. Samsung’s recently announced Galaxy S10, on the other hand, can act as a wireless charger itself, and is able to charge earbuds, smartwatches and even other phones -- including iPhones.  

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