Why did Apple’s AirPower fail?

ARTICLE – In 2018, Apple made a rather astonishing and equally exciting announcement during the iPhoneX/8 launch event. It would be bringing an innovative Qi-enabled wireless charger to market called AirPower.

Wireless chargers were nothing new at the time — they’re certainly rampant now — but the AirPower stood out because it could simultaneously charge several devices. Purportedly, it would be able to charge one of the newer iPhone models, an Apple Watch and the company’s second-generation AirPods all at once.

Another reason the Apple-branded charger was significant is that most third-party chargers require a special adapter or configuration to work with Apple devices. With the AirPower, one could simply place their devices on the pad.

However, on March 29, 2019, Apple officially announced its plans to cancel the product ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://9to5mac.com/2019/03/29/airpower-buy-now/). It’s no longer coming, ever, and that’s a huge bummer. The company says it’s because it could not deliver the quality of products it is known for. Then again, that is changing — considering more recent developments about the longevity of Apple AirPods ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/03/your-airpods-probably-have-terrible-battery-life/585439/) and misconceptions about the company’s planned obsolescence with its smartphones ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/j5kd7x/iphone-slow-planned-obsolescence-ios-12-wwdc).

What Really Happened to the AirPower Charging Pad?

It’s unlikely we’ll ever know the full story behind AirPower, but it must be long and convoluted considering how much time transpired before Apple canceled the project. It was originally announced in September 2018 and meant for release in early 2018, yet the company didn’t cancel it until March of this year. More importantly, during that entire time, product demonstrations, updates and information were almost nonexistent.

Apple’s official statement ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://appmarsh.com/2019/03/29/apple-cancels-airpower-product-citing-inability-to-meet-its-high-standards-for-hardware/) is not very telling, either. “After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have canceled the project. 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,” said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering.

Some reports have suggested that overheating was a major concern ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://sonnydickson.com/2018/09/16/what-really-happened-to-apples-airpower/), which does happen with powerful chargers of this caliber. Another possibility is that because the charger had to accommodate so many devices, it required more coils and that meant RF exposures would be too high — unable to stay below FCC limits ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://celectronics.com/training/learning/authorization/FCC-Wireless-Charging-RF-Exposure.html).

Whatever the case, this is a pretty embarrassing event for everyone at Apple headquarters. Mistakes and errors happen, of course, but it’s the fanfare with which the charger was announced that is so questionable. The company went so far as to include references on other products — the second-gen Apple AirPods were delayed and even teased the AirPower on its packaging — and also promote the new product on its official site.

This does bring up one important question: How early should Apple be announcing products?

Sometimes, it is beneficial to know a new product is on the way, as this can prevent people from upgrading to an older or obsolete model shortly before launch. With things like AirPower, however, announcing too early causes confusion and embarrassment. It could have avoided this simply by not talking about the product until it was ready for distribution.

However, when you have a tech giant like Apple constantly pushing the envelope, these things are bound to happen eventually. The AirPower was not the only problematic launch for Apple, and it won’t be the last.

What’s Next?

Undoubtedly, this is an opportunity for Apple to reflect on the future development of its products and the company’s engineering process. It may be a little more conservative about announcing products early — at least, one can only hope.

The worst-case scenario is that rampant errors and failed launches become a normal occurrence, but it’s still way too early to say whether or not that’s a possibility. It’s more likely this is a rare event, and the company will continue to launch successful, innovative products its customers enjoy.

Photo by Ben Kolde ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://unsplash.com/photos/xdLXPic3Wfk?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText)

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Best Alternatives to Apple’s Now-Canceled AirPower

Apple on Friday made the remarkable transfer of canceling paintings at the AirPower ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.appmarsh.com/2019/03/29/apple-officially-cancels-airpower/), the wi-fi charging mat that was once intended to rate the Apple Watch ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.appmarsh.com/roundup/apple-watch/), iPhone, and AirPods ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.appmarsh.com/roundup/airpods/) abruptly.

There are already various AirPower ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.appmarsh.com/guide/airpower/)-like choice merchandise in the marketplace, and we are most probably going to be seeing further replacements someday. None of those equipment do just what the AirPower promised as a result of there are devoted spots to rate every software, however every possibility will rate greater than one software at one time.

1. Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://hellonomad.com/collections/power-apple-watch/products/base-station-apple-watch) ($139) – Nomad’s Apple Watch Base Station has an Apple Watch charging puck for charging the Apple Watch, at the side of a double coil Qi wi-fi charging pad. You can use the wi-fi charging pad to rate the iPhone horizontally, however in case you put the iPhone vertically, it frees up just a little spot for charging the AirPods, so all three gadgets rate at one time. We reviewed the Nomad Base Station ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.appmarsh.com/review/nomad-base-station-apple-watch/)and favored it fairly so much, despite the fact that it’s fairly pricey.

2. Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.amazon.com/Belkin-Wireless-Charging-iPhone-Charger/dp/B07M6SBD57) ($127) – This is any other pricey dock, however it is any other that we reviewed ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.appmarsh.com/review/belkin-boost-up-wireless-charging-dock/) and favored fairly so much. Belkin’s Boost Up Wireless Charging Dock has an upright charging area for wirelessly charging an iPhone and an area for the Apple Watch, however this is not a dock appropriate for the AirPods. Still, it is a excellent possibility for twin software charging.

3. SliceCharge 2 Wireless Charging Mat ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://hardciderlabs.com/collections/featured-products/products/slicecharge-3in1-wireless-charger) ($60) – The SliceCharge 2 has an Apple Watch charging puck within the heart and two wi-fi charging coils on the aspects, so you’ll be able to both rate two iPhones or an iPhone and an AirPods 2 Wireless Charging Case. It’s reasonably priced, slender, and helps 7.5W wi-fi charging for the iPhone.

4. ZENS Dual + Watch Wireless Charger ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.makezens.com/shop/zens-dualwatch-aluminium-wireless-charger/) (99 euros) – The Dual + Watch Wireless Charger from European corporate ZENS is an alternative choice that we not too long ago reviewed ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.appmarsh.com/review/review-zens-dual-watch-charger/) and have been inspired with. It has a stand for charging an Apple Watch, at the side of a base that may wirelessly rate two iPhones at one time. It’s 99 euros which is pricy, however ZENS does send international. This dock is quickly out of inventory, however it is coming again in May.

5. NytStnd AirPods Trio ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://nytstnd.com/nyt/airpodstrio3) ($109) – The Nytstnd will rate your AirPods, Apple Watch, and iPhone abruptly, however there is a catch – there is no wi-fi charging for AirPods. The Apple Watch fees by way of a regular Apple Watch charging puck (that you just provide), whilst there is a wi-fi charging pad for iPhone, a Lightning port for AirPods, and one additional Lighting port. On the plus aspect, you’ll be able to rate all three pieces without delay and there may be additionally an additional spot for storing keys or different odds and ends. You additionally do not want the brand new AirPods 2 with Wireless Charging Case to use it.

6. Unravel Wireless Charger ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.amazon.com/Unravel-Wireless-Universal-Multiple-Charging/dp/B07NGV48P3) ($99) – This fascinating little charger options three charging stations, one for AirPods, one for Apple Watch, and one for iPhone. You can lay them flat or roll them up in a configuration that works for you in case you most effective want to rate two gadgets without delay. We have not attempted this, however it is a neat design and the evaluations glance to be in large part sure.

Affordable AirPower Alternatives From Amazon

If you pass to Amazon and sort in “AirPower” or “Wireless Charging Station” you’ll be able to see a complete slew of inexpensive wi-fi chargers that promise to rate your Apple Watch, iPhone, and AirPods abruptly. We have not examined any of those choices and cannot check whether or not they paintings, and at those value issues, there is no approach they are the use of Apple-certified parts.

Still, if you are on the lookout for another to the AirPower that is tremendous reasonably priced, those could be what you need. We’ll checklist one of the most choices which can be getting higher scores underneath.

  • Conido Wireless Charging Station ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.amazon.com/Conido-Wireless-Charger-Compatible-Charging/dp/B07DVZC37V) ($42) – This charging station has an upright charger for the iPhone, an Apple Watch charging puck with stand, and a slot for charging the AirPods, however with Lightning as an alternative of wirelessly.
  • OLEBR Charging Stand ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.amazon.com/OLEBR-Charging-AirPods-iPhone-iPad-Space/dp/B078MXCXJ5) ($39) – The OLEBR is identical to the Conido, nevertheless it makes use of Lightning for the iPhone and the AirPods whilst providing a charging puck for the Apple Watch. So this one is not wi-fi in any respect, however nonetheless fees more than one gadgets without delay.
  • MQOUNY Wireless Charger 3-in-1 ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.amazon.com/MQOUNY-Wireless-Charger-Charging-Compatible/dp/B07NXQPFPH) ($39) – This stand is relatively compact, providing an upright wi-fi charger for the iPhone, an Apple Watch charging puck, and above that, a holder for the AirPods that fees them over Lightning.
  • Bestand 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Stand ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.amazon.com/Bestand-Aluminum-Charging-Wireless-Qi-Enabled/dp/B071WHB8YM) ($48) – This wi-fi charging stand has an upright wi-fi charger for the iPhone, a charging arm for the Apple Watch, and a Lightning connector for charging the AirPods.
  • IBIS 9W Dual Wireless Fast Charging Station 3 ^(https://www.appmarsh.com/link/https://www.amazon.com/IBIS-Wireless-Charging-Multiple-Certified/dp/B078NRTBF3) ($40) – There’s no area for the Apple Watch in this one, however it’s going to rate your iPhones and your AirPods with Wireless Charging Case.

More Charging Options

The iPhone and the AirPods Wireless Charging Case will paintings with any Qi-based wi-fi charger in the marketplace, so there are an never-ending choice of unmarried software wi-fi chargers you’ll be able to get as neatly.


Have a favourite AirPower choice that we did not checklist right here? Let us know within the feedback.

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