AirPower may not be as dead as we thought. Years after cancelling the product, Apple is reportedly working on a new charger that could charge three devices at the same time.
According to Mark Gurman’s “Power On” newsletter for Bloomberg, the charger could include short and long-distance wireless charging technology so i-devices could eventually “charge each other.” Apple’s phones and accessories don’t even support reverse wireless charging, so if the company can bring this mystery device to market, it could potentially leap ahead of competitors in an area where it currently lags behind.
In June, Bloomberg reported on Apple developing a multi-device inductive charger back as a spiritual successor to AirPower. The earlier report said Apple was experimenting with sending power over the air for true wireless charging, not the sort-of wireless pad-style charging we use today. Making the technology mainstream would be similar to how AirPods popularised truly wireless earbuds when those awkward neckband earbuds (I know, I know, they’re good for fitness) were being lumped into the same category. Unfortunately, Bloomberg warned that any viable true wireless charging product is many years away.
If these reports are accurate, Apple will need to get this one right. Apple’s inability to bring AirPower to market after teasing the concept at its iPhone X event in 2017 will go down as one of the company’s most embarrassing failures. Excitement about a product that could simultaneously charge three or more products quickly dwindled as horror stories of development troubles, ranging from overheating to interference issues, surfaced. Apple eventually cancelled the product in 2019, vaguely citing difficulties in creating a product that reached its unspecified standards.
Apple has since released less ambitious versions of AirPower, including the MagSafe Duo charger for juicing up two devices (iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods charging case) at once. While useful for those invested in Apple’s MagSafe accessories, the Duo has been criticised for its slow charging speeds, flimsy build, and exorbitant price when compared with cheaper yet more capable third-party options.
Details on this rumoured AirPower successor are thin apart from it charging at least three devices and potentially introducing true wireless charging. We don’t when Apple intends on bringing this product to market or what sort of charging speeds the company hopes to achieve.
We do know, however, that Apple is deeply committed to moving everything wireless, and various reports suggest the company could even abandon the charging port on upcoming iPhone models. We’ll be keeping a close eye out for any developments to see if Apple can recharge its AirPower project, though we’re not expecting any teasers or announcements until the company is sure it can even make the thing.