Video Demonstrates Semi-Functional AirPower Prototype in Action

Back in August, a video of an AirPower prototype gave us a closer look at Apple's abandoned wireless charging device, but the unit was not functional in any practical way. Now, thanks to a collaboration between YouTube channels Apple Demo and Unbox Therapy, we can see an ‌AirPower‌ prototype that actually charges devices – albeit with some major caveats.

working airpower prototype apple demo
‌Announced in 2017 alongside the iPhone X, ‌AirPower‌‌ was designed so that an ‌‌iPhone‌‌, ‌AirPods‌, and Apple Watch could be placed on any portion of the mat and the devices would charge, which meant that multiple overlapping charging coils (22 in all) had to be included.

To demonstrate the charging, Apple Demo provided Unbox Therapy with a rare ‌AirPower‌ prototype with one functioning coil in the bottom right corner of the mat, along with an explicit set of instructions on how to use the ill-fated device without damaging the unit or injuring oneself in the process, given its propensity to overheat.

To power on the ‌AirPower‌, Unbox Therapy uses a MacBook Pro's USB-C port with a genuine Apple Lightning to USB-C cable, as advised. Like other ‌‌AirPower‌‌ prototypes, the unit does not feature the white exterior shell that Apple marketed the device with, exposing its internal circuitry on the back. Apple Demo cautions not to touch this side of the ‌AirPower‌, as they had done so by accident and received a bad electric shock.

airpower prototype
Apple Demo warns that only Apple devices should be charged on the ‌AirPower‌, and preferably only ‌iPhone‌ X models or AirPods. The ‌AirPower‌ prototype is unable to charge any Apple Watch models or any newer devices with MagSafe magnets. Additionally, "Max" devices (like ‌iPhone‌ XS Max) should be avoided as well because they could cause damage if they draw more power.

Apple Demo also advises not to leave the ‌AirPower‌ connected to power for an extended period of time – up to a maximum of one minute – and to leave the unit for five minutes to cool down and prevent damage before placing anything else on it.

Respecting these instructions, Unbox Therapy places an ‌iPhone‌ X on the corner of the mat, whereupon it begins to charge wirelessly – and stays charging for the short time the phone is left on the mat. After a cooldown period, an AirPods case is placed on the mat that also responds to the working coil.

apple airpower
‌AirPower‌‌ missed its original 2018 launch date goal and Apple shelved the project in March 2019 due to problems with overheating, buggy inter-device communication, and mechanical and interference issues. But the video also highlights the fact that in some ways ‌AirPower‌ was a product of its time and technology has moved on since Apple came up with the idea.

For example, Unbox Therapy makes the salient point that ‌AirPower‌ is poorly designed for many of today's Apple Watch bands that don't lie flat when taken off the wrist and placed down (the Solo Loop, for example). Whether this factored into Apple's reasoning to abandon the ‌AirPower‌ is unknown, but it's the main reason why most third-party multi-device wireless chargers come with a raised stand that enables the band to loop behind the charging pad without having to take it off.

Rumors in subsequent years about Apple's work on a smaller wireless charger may have been related to ‌MagSafe‌ or the ‌‌MagSafe‌‌ Duo charger, rather than another ‌AirPower-like device‌. That said, a report from reliable Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman last year said that Apple is still looking into AirPower-like charging solutions for the future.

Top Rated Comments

randolorian Avatar
9 months ago
Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to Apple AirPower.

Caution: Apple AirPower may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.

Apple AirPower contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at.

Do not use Apple AirPower on concrete.

Discontinue use of Apple AirPower if any of the following occurs:

* itching
* vertigo
* dizziness
* tingling in extremities
* loss of balance or coordination
* slurred speech
* temporary blindness
* profuse sweating
* or heart palpitations.

If Apple AirPower begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head.

Apple AirPower may stick to certain types of skin.

When not in use, Apple AirPower should be returned to its special container and kept under refrigeration. Failure to do so relieves the makers of AirPower, Apple Incorporated, of any and all liability.

Ingredients of Apple AirPower include an unknown glowing green substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.

Apple AirPower has been shipped to our troops in Saudi Arabia and is being dropped by our warplanes on Iraq.

Do not taunt Apple AirPower.

Apple AirPower comes with a lifetime warranty.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fraserh02 Avatar
9 months ago
It's been five years now and this is no longer arguably needed with MagSafe. Also, of all YouTuber's Unbox Therapy.. really!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PsykX Avatar
9 months ago
Luke Miani made the same video like 3 months ago.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lotzosushi Avatar
9 months ago
There are a bunch of other videos from other YouTubers who do a 100% better job at explaining the history and technology that goes behind AirPower and why it failed. They also got their hands on testing with the prototypes.
But of course you chose not to cover them until this garbage YouTuber posts something. Absolutely cannot stand him. Stop giving overractiontherapy views.

For those that want to watch more informative videos on this that came out first:

Luke Miani's AirPower Video ('//')

91Tech's AirPower Video ('//')
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Account25476 Avatar
9 months ago
This product doesn’t make any sense anymore.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sanme Avatar
9 months ago
Nobody cares ?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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