Apple will finally deliver its AirPower charger in September after solving “a series of technical hurdles,” according to a new report.
Overheating is one problem company engineers have had to contend with. Another is AirPower’s complex circuitry, which is necessary to allow compatible devices to be placed anywhere on the mat for charging.
By the time September rolls around, we will have been waiting a year for AirPower to make its debut. Apple unveiled it alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone X last fall, but the company hasn’t mentioned it publicly since then.
So, why has it taken so long for Apple, with all its design and manufacturing prowess, to deliver a simple wireless charging mat?
AirPower problems galore
It turns out AirPower isn’t a simple charging mat at all. Because Apple wants us to be able to place our devices anywhere to charge them, it requires complex circuitry that other charging mats don’t offer.
“That ambitious goal requires the company to pack the AirPower with multiple charging sensors, a process that has proven difficult,” sources told Bloomberg.
“The multi-device charging mechanism is challenging to build because it likely requires different sized charging components for the three types of devices, which would all overlap across the mat.”
It’s not just the complex hardware, either; AirPower also packs a custom Apple chip that runs a “stripped down version” of iOS, which is responsible for on-device power management and device pairing. Apple engineers have also had to work to eliminate bugs in its firmware.
Apple wanted to launch AirPower this month
Apple had hoped to make AirPower available this month, the sources added. It is now aiming to launch the device in September.
Engineers have ramped up testing in recent months, and started using AirPower mats in their own homes, to ensure all is working as it should be before the device makes its way into customers’ hands.
It is believed that Apple wants to eliminate the iPhone’s charging port entirely in the future. Adding wireless charging to its latest devices is the first step towards that goal, but cables will stick around until wireless charging technology is good enough to replace them.
Existing solutions are slower than cable charging, and they require our iPhones to be in contact with a charging mat. Apple has been exploring more advanced technology that would allow devices to be charged over-the-air within a field.
AirPower will be compatible with the latest iPhones, as well as Apple Watch. You will also be able to use it to charge your AirPods if you buy the optional wireless charging case (which was also announced last September and still hasn’t arrived yet).