Report Claims AirPower 'Doomed to Failure' Unless Apple Can Resolve Multiple Ongoing Engineering Issues

Despite the promise of a 2018 release date, Apple's long-awaited AirPower wireless charging mat remains unavailable, and almost all mentions of the device were last week removed from its website. This has prompted speculation over what could be behind the delay – and even whether the AirPower, which was announced over a year ago, will ever see the light of day.

airpoweriphone8
Previous reports have touched upon the technical issues Apple has run into with the AirPower's design, but a new report published on Sunday by Sonny Dickson claims several pieces of exclusive information that shed light on the challenges Apple is still facing with the device, which is designed to charge the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once.

According to the report's multiple internal sources, many of those working on the AirPower project believe the device may be "doomed to failure" unless engineering solutions can be found for a host of currently unresolved issues, which include:

  • Heat management

Currently the device produces far too much heat, which causes performance setbacks, and can affect the ability of the devices to charge if they become too warm in the process. It also affects the ability of Apple's custom charging chip, which runs a stripped down version of iOS, to function as intended.

  • Buggy inter-device communication

Apple's engineers have been experiencing both hardware and software issues with the communication between AirPower and devices placed on the mat, especially the communication of Apple Watch and AirPod charging data to the iPhone, which monitors the charge level of all devices placed on the mat.

  • Mechanical and interference issues

The mechanism being used for multi-device charging [21 and 24 overlapping power coils of various sizes] is proving extremely difficult to build or refine, and has been resulting in a significant amount of interference... which reduces the efficiency of the charging mat, and contributes to the heat issues that engineers are facing.

Aside from heat and interference shielding, the report notes that the complexity of the circuitry in the device is also posing a significant challenge, which may not be overcome unless the device is redesigned to be slightly thicker and larger. However, Apple is said to be "unwilling to make compromises" on the AirPower's overall design.

Wrapping up, Dickson holds out hope that the AirPower could still debut before the end of the year, but claims that "the broad consensus among engineers suggests that this is highly unlikely".

Indeed, Dickson says chatter he's heard "less notable individuals involved with the project" suggest that the AirPower concept and trademark could eventually be applied to an all-new product with other unmentioned features, to be publicly shown at an undisclosed date "not likely to occur before Spring".

For those who remain steadfastly optimistic about the AirPower, Apple has a few more months to meet its self-imposed 2018 deadline for the device, so it's still possible we'll see the device debut via press release in October, November, or December.

Top Rated Comments

MrGimper Avatar
40 months ago
I've not read the article, but you'd have thought they'd been like 90% of the way into testing before announcing this thing.
Score: 73 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Xgm541 Avatar
40 months ago
Personally I prefer this never launches than it launching as a sub par product.
Score: 64 Votes (Like | Disagree)
neuropsychguy Avatar
40 months ago
Lesson: don't announce hardware products unless they are launch-ready.
Score: 64 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChrisMoBro Avatar
40 months ago
So they’d rather compromise on the quality just to make it thinner and smaller even if this results in massive issues with heat... so basically it’s the same as their computers then
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mydel Avatar
40 months ago
With that level of complication the price would be way beyond acceptable levels. Wireless charging as it is now I find completely useless. There is no difference for me if i place phone or watch on the mat or hook it up via cable. I charge overnight anyway. Not to mention that efficiency is very low what directly translates to loss of power.
That technology is not promising. Once the real wireless technology will be available I will maybe change my mind. Lets say 3m range.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Eriamjh1138@DAN Avatar
40 months ago
The overlapping coil design sounds great in concept, but coils that drive a signal creates a signal in other coils. Interference is the key word. This product may be physically (due to physics) impossible to build.

I imagine spacing the coils out created dead spots. What good is a mat you can place your devices anywhere if there are dead spots? It’s not anywhere any more.

Overheating means too much power loss in the coils. Inefficient means energy isn’t going into your phone or watch but instead is wasted. It also means slower charging.

Apple was wise not to say anything about this product and has learned a lesson. Never promise a future product that’s not fully developed.

Remember the 3GHz G5 PowerMac? Steve Jobs did.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
M1X MBP Feature

Leaker: Upcoming MacBook Pro to See Price Hike Over Current Model, Equal Performance Across 14 and 16-Inch Sizes

Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:28 am PDT by
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is set to be more expensive than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and both the 14 and 16-inch models will offer the same performance, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." The leaker shared the information on Twitter, explaining that both of the upcoming MacBook Pro models, expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, will feature the same performance due...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
ryanscoolios13thumbnail

Apple Releases iOS 13.1.3 With Bug Fixes for Phone, Mail, Health, and More

Tuesday October 15, 2019 10:09 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 13.1.3 and iPadOS 13.1.3, minor updates to the iOS 13.1.2 software that was released two weeks ago. This is the fourth update to the iOS 13 operating system that came out in September. The iOS and iPadOS 13.1.3 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update....
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...
iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS and iPadOS 14.6 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday May 10, 2021 10:13 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of new iOS and iPadOS 14.6 updates to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the second iOS and iPadOS 14.6 updates. iOS and iPadOS 14.6 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. iOS and iPadOS 14.6 appear to be more minor changes focusing on...