Apple Delays AirPower Charging Mat Once Again Due to Technical Hurdles

Posted on June 21, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple with 45 Comments

Photographer: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

When Apple launched its next-gen iPhone back in September of last year, the company also announced a new wireless charger: AirPower. The company’s AirPower charger isn’t your regular wireless charger — it’s a charging mat that’s capable of wirelessly charging up to 3 devices at the same time.

And that’s delaying the release of the AirPower. The device is supposed to come out this year, and Apple initially planned on releasing it this month. But due to technical hurdles, the release has been reportedly pushed to September, according to Bloomberg. The company’s engineers are still working to mitigate overheating issues on the charger, since charging up to 3 devices at the same time is likely to make it really hot. Moreover, the separate charging sensors required to support up to 3 devices at the same time is apparently difficult to integrate. Apple engineers are also reportedly busy working on fixing the firmware of the device that runs a stripped down version of iOS required for device pairing.

AirPower isn’t the only device Apple has delayed recently — after the Mac Pro and HomePod, the delayed launched of the AirPower will likely disappoint a lot of Apple fans. But Apple usually introduces new iPhones and hardware in September, so launching the AirPower around the same period could be perfect timing. What really fascinates me is the fact that Apple previously looked into completely ditching external ports — yes, the charging port — on the iPhone X. This could change in the future, but only if Apple can figure out the cost-related issues associated with ditching the charging port and having to include a wireless charger with every iPhone. Right now, the iPhone X is already very expensive for most at $1,000.

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Comments (45)

45 responses to “Apple Delays AirPower Charging Mat Once Again Due to Technical Hurdles”

  1. MikeGalos

    Technical hurdles?


    Qi charging has been around literally a decade. The standard went into effect and the first chargers shipped in 2008.

    You'd think Apple would at least have prototyped more than the industrial design of the case before announcing a simple product. Apparently they didn't bother since a picture of the case is all you need to get applause at an Apple press event.

    • dontbe evil

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      wait... apple is just INVENTING, will be REVOLUTIONARY /s

    • Stooks

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      How many of those Qi chargers can do 3 devices Mike??????????

    • nbplopes

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Has anyone done a Qi unit that actualky charge two or more devices at the same time? No.

      That is what they are aiming.

      Stop telling lies to your self by seeing books through its cover.

      • SvenJ

        In reply to nbplopes: Try Amazon
        Apparently not a big challenge if you don't have to support a proprietary wireless charging standard (Apple Watch). I imagine they will use the watch tech on the Airpod charge case so that their charger will be the only one that works on the watch and Airpods.

        • nbplopes

          In reply to SvenJ:

          Amazon, the source of truth :) Have you guys seen the ratings of those devices?

          I bought one of those. Its crap, full of glitchs and problems. So it does not actually do what it says it does.

          Has I said, keep on judging innovation by its cover.

          PS: Do you guys still believe that Apple does not know how to do either hardware or software with excellence? There is plenty of stuff not to like about the company, case in case the pricing policy,, but trying to believe otherwise one just discredit himself.

    • Michael Uhlman

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      The issue is two fold here, one is its a single mat that can charge multiple devices at the same time which is the easy part, the hard part is the pad is designed so all 3 devices can be placed anywhere and be able to be charged without having to worry about aligning your devices right on the coils, or vibration from a phone call or other notifications knocked it off the coil just enough to interrupt charging etc.

  2. m_p_w_84

    i can’t understand why a company with unlimited money and thousands of staff can’t get things done on time. I would love to have a port less iPhone, but they would need to make an excellent wireless car charger first

  3. lvthunder

    Last time I checked September was still this year.

  4. Stooks

    Ahh I love the smell of Link Bait when it comes from this site, warm and fresh!

    "The device is supposed to come out this year, and Apple initially planned on releasing it this month."

    Apple never, as in ever, stated when in 2018 it would be available. Checking Bing dot com, September still falls into 2018 and they would still have 90 days of spare time to still make their official statement of "2018". I had to look that up, thanks Bing!!!

    • SvenJ

      In reply to Stooks: Don't cut them that much slack. They release a number of phone models with Qi charging, already have a watch that charges wirelessly, and throw up a branded charger with no specific date. Everyone figured later that year, not early the next year, which passed, or first half of the following year, which passed, or who the hell knows when. They still have not a single Apple wireless charger for their phone, or the promised wireless AirPod charge case. There are articles galore extoling the virtues of Samsung Qi chargers for your iPhone. This is ridiculous. It's like Tesla not being able to supply chargers.
      There are already multi-device chargers on the market, they just won't do what Apple's is supposed to do, since the watch technology isn't quite Qi. Had it not been proprietary, I could have a multi-device charger that would already work.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to SvenJ:

        Everyone figured later that year, not early the next year...

        Then “everyone” figured wrong.

        They should have have had it out by now, true. But I’d rather they make sure it doesn’t catch fire or explode, and release it later.

        Also, the only initial guidance they gave on the new Mac Pro was “not 2018”. It isn’t late. And for those expecting it in 2019, I think you’ll be disappointed. I’d love to see it then, but I’m guessing 2020.

        Edit: I know Apple said (in the TechCrunch article) that it’s a “2019 product”, and I hope they hit that, but I’m a bit skeptical. And if they do make 2019 I expect it to be a very late release. Like squeaking it in in December...

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to curtisspendlove:

          If it isn't a 2019 product then they've given up on the expandable computer/external display professional market and have been using the delay to exit that market without admitting that they've intended to kill off the the product line that originated back with the Macintosh II.

          • curtisspendlove

            In reply to MikeGalos:

            My read on the “new Mac Pro” is the convergence of two mistakes:

            * they misread the direction graphics card were going with the Trash Can Pro

            * they thought everyone that wanted a Pro Mac wants a Pro iMac

            They were surprised that they weren’t right. And it really does take a while to build out a product they need to get right.

            I fully believe they expect to unleash an amazing new “can’t innovate my ass yet again” Mac Pro.

            I also don’t think the new Mac Pro is going to be what most people think it is going to be either. And it is going to be extremely expensive.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to Stooks:

      This article is based on Mark Gurman's original reporting for Bloomberg, in which he claims Apple engineers wanted to ship this in June. Gurman has very good sources.

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Stooks:

      Ah, the same excuse used for the Mac Pro being a year late. When they said it wouldn't make it out this year they didn't EXPLICLTLY say it would be next year so 2019 is still on time.

  5. the_real_entheos

    This thing ain't gonna be cheap, $139 or more. I've had wireless charging and it isn't all that, devices are awkward to use while charging. The reversible ports solved most charging hardships, though they still make a lot of devices with the awful micro-usb.

  6. markbyrn

    Funny, I was just thinking about this yesterday and what the status is. This latest snafu among many is just one example that suggests Mr. Cook clearly needs to focus less on using Apple to advance his personal social-political agendas and more on fostering a positive work culture of engineering and innovation. Given that his CEO approval rating continues to decline (ref: Apple employees voice frustration with work culture under Tim Cook), perhaps he should consider taking a sabbatical. 

    • zybch

      In reply to markbyrn:

      Cook's areas of expertise was supply chain stuff, not the minds of things Jobs had that brought Apple back from the edge of oblivion. And the more and more regular problems and anti consumer actions are partly the result of not having a strong leader willing to kick heads and take names.

  7. GT Tecolotecreek

    Wow, the iHaters are out in full force on this one! Holding a product release until it meets the design specs, has been tested in real life situations (Apple employee testing in this case) and is safe is being a responsible manufacturer. Apple gets bashed if the don't tell the press about future products, then they get bashed when they don't delivery them on someone else's timeline. I think they learned a big lesson from the Maps release, and aren't going to make that mistake again. Paul T's take (as usual) is "Put simply, this company under Tim Cook is incompetent." Hardly, as they race towards a market cap of a billion dollars.

    Incompetent is Google putting out the Pigel 2 with so many bugs it's barely useable. Incompetent is the Microsoft Surface product line with so many issues it gets rated by a respected consumer review organization as the worst in the industry while charging a premium price! Holding a product until it is ready for prime time is being responsible and respecting your customers.

  8. bluvg

    Maybe it's because they're also trying to work out the issue where it wears out the battery faster?

  9. javajunkee

    I wonder why they bothered to announce this '9 months' ago. Usually you announce vaporware in hopes of preventing your customers from buying a competing product.

    I really don't like to pull the Steve card, but man take me back to the days when Apple announced new products and they would be in the stores almost immediately.

  10. CoreyP

    Has Apple ever had something as delayed as this? I can't recall anything they've announced that's been delayed for a year.

  11. dontbe evil

    but but apple is the best /s

  12. MikeGalos

    As to the "only if Apple can figure out the cost-related issues associated with ditching the charging port and having to include a wireless charger with every iPhone" claim...

    You can buy a Qi standard charging pad on Amazon for less than $10 including 1-day shipping. And that's retail price. If Apple can't figure out how to include a $5 part in a $1,000, high markup product they are either totally incompetent or don't consider it a strategic feature or both.

  13. Daekar

    So... couldn't they just make one housing with two or three different chargers/sensors inside that operated independently? I mean, really... what's the point of the additional complexity of doing it any other way?

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to Daekar:

      My guess is that they want it placement agnostic. And that isn’t easy. Wireless chargers are super finicky about device placement.

      • Andi

        In reply to curtisspendlove:

        They want to bring something that can justify a price premium. Apple is about margin. A supposedly better charger is just a pretext. Just like a supposedly better speaker was a pretext for the Homepod.

        • curtisspendlove

          In reply to Andi:

          They want to bring something that can justify a price premium. 

          :: shrug ::

          I will spend a premium to have superior products that don’t frustrate me. Most current wireless chargers suck. They are persnickety. I’ve had times where the cat (or I) bumped the phone over night, just enough to knock it off the sweet spot of the charging coil.

          If they can solve that and a few other irritations, I’ll spend the money on it.

          However I still don’t get why people get so mad about things being “late”. When things are rushed, or badly designed you get poor products. I’m much more frustrated with an inferior product than I am one that took longer to arrive on a shelf.

          • Andi

            In reply to curtisspendlove:

            Take the Homepod, it's not even the best at what it's supposed to be(audio). It's not worth the premium. Sometimes Apple's justifications for the premium price don't check out. They design around the "premium" word; they are trying to fulfill a prophecy, that Apple's premiums are always justified.

    • Stooks

      In reply to Daekar:

      You get a job there and tell them how to do it.

      • MikeGalos

        In reply to Stooks:

        Well, looks like Daekar wouldn't do worse than Apple is doing. They DO have jobs there and don't know how to do it.

      • Daekar

        In reply to Stooks:

        Ummm,.. no. I would never work for those self-righteous virtue-signaling twits, no matter how much money they make or pay out. I'd have to believe in their product philosophy first, which isn't going to happen. It's the opposite of what I believe should be done with technology.

        • nbplopes

          In reply to Daekar:

          What is in your opinion their philosophy?

          I think its more complex for the user to figure out that he or she needs to sit the device in a particular position to charge it, rather than drop it there and forget.

          Oh, you mean, engineering complexity, well that is what you would be payed for to solve I guess.

          Here is a guy that seams to have figured it out ... the philosophy I mean:

          It explains why your idea to implement it is comparatively really bad.

  14. TallGuySE

    Apple had a very hard time shipping Power Macintosh back in the day because they couldn’t get updated PowerPC chips. The original iPhone was announced in January and shipped in June. I think Apple may survive the AirPower debacle. /s

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