Apple today has cancelled its AirPower wireless charging mat, citing the difficulties the company has encountered in getting the mat to meet its ‘high standards’. The company emphasized that wireless technology projects like this one might be a part of its future roadmap, but at this time it has decided to refrain from releasing the AirPower.

Apple announced its AirPower mat along with the iPhone X and iPhone 8 back in September 2017. The mat was meant to charge up to three devices at the same time. For example, a new iPhone, an Apple Watch, and Apple's AirPods (via the Wireless Charging Case) could be charged simultaneously, bringing a lot of convenience and removing at least two cables from the table. In terms of flexibility this would have been a big step up from today’s wireless chargers, which can only charge one device at a time.

The AirPower relied on a multi-inductor design, which was reportedly the source of the problems that Apple faced. Among the issues mentioned by various reports were overheating, interference issues, and difficulties in getting the mat to communicate with devices (i.e., it did not ‘know’ their charge levels). As it turns out, about 18 months after the formal announcement, Apple has apparently not managed to solve all the problems with the AirPower, leading to them pulling the plug on a Friday.

“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project,” said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering at Apple. “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.”

It is noteworthy that the decision to cancel the project was very clearly made relatively recently, as ‘Display Only’ retail packages for the 2nd Gen AirPods still showcased the AirPower mat. Otherwise, given the challenges posed by the multi-inductor design of the ‘intelligent’ wireless charging mat, Apple clearly planned to build a very ambitious product, making this one of the rare cases where their ambitions publicly exceed their otherwise impressive engineering capabilities.

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Sources: TechCrunch, The Verge, The Verge

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  • akrobet - Saturday, March 30, 2019 - link

    They are just waiting for Huawei/Samsung/Xiaomi to figure it out, and then Apple will introduce it as their own revolutionary...
  • Donkey2008 - Saturday, April 6, 2019 - link

    Apple hasn't mastered how to make batteries explode so Samsung has that on them still.
  • qlum - Saturday, March 30, 2019 - link

    So basically they came to the conclution that what they wanted to make was simply not viable.
  • GC2:CS - Saturday, March 30, 2019 - link

    Noooo ! (Death star pops)

    Prety much the only thing that I considered as a way to move my family towards less wire.
    Now I am stuck with having an extra cable for AWatch everwhere.

    Honestly having 3 iPhones charge at 22,5 W, plus magnetic field leaking, plus converting all the current D/A and back. That is a lot of heat. Would need a huawei phone charger for sure.
  • name99 - Saturday, March 30, 2019 - link

    Actually I think some of this IS Apple self-inflicted silliness.
    The aWatch charger TODAY should be capable of charging the Airpods case and even (albeit slowly) the iPhone. It's not.
    Apple should have built-that into the charger the day they decided they were interested in wireless charging going forward. It wouldn't have taught them anything useful for the AirPower mat, but it would have bought them some good-will, in the same way that people appreciate how you can charge most of your Apple stuff with a single lightning connector.
  • Diogene7 - Saturday, March 30, 2019 - link

    I don’t understand why Apple choose the standard Qi based on induction as the wireless power standard for their devices.

    In terms of convenience, my understanding is that, at the time, there was another competing standard, Rezence (Airfuell) that is based on resonance wireless charging.

    From what I read about it, it offered the possibility to charge multiple devices at the same time with a charger, and was much more flexible in terms of freedom of positionning.

    However, it seems it was less power efficient but I would definitely have take it over Qi wireless charging for the added convenience !!!!
  • HardwareDufus - Sunday, March 31, 2019 - link

    I wonder what the culture is like when a high profile project like this gets cancelled so late in the game. do they all run around playing the blame game? do people get axed? or does the company accept that not all ideas pan out and then redeploy their talented people on other projects?

    i know when they were building the ring in Cupertino, they were absolutely merciless with their contractors.
  • Gunbuster - Monday, April 1, 2019 - link

    Not enough courage to say: "You're putting it on the mat wrong."

    They should have engineered a little apple mascot robot that goes and positions the device on the mat correctly for you. I mean if you are making a luxury charging mat you might as well go for the gold and make it cost $350.
  • vaibhav24 - Thursday, April 11, 2019 - link

    Wireless Phone Chargers Market Analysis -
    This report focuses on Wireless Phone Chargers volume and value at global level, regional level and company level. From a global perspective, this report represents overall Wireless Phone Chargers market size by analyzing historical data and future prospect. Regionally, this report focuses on several key regions: North America, Europe, China and Japan.
    At company level, this report focuses on the production capacity, ex-factory price, revenue and market share for each manufacturer covered in this report.

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