It’s not often that Apple promises a brand new product only to go completely silent on the idea and not deliver it — but that’s what happened last year.
At its annual iPhone product launch in September 2017, it touted a forthcoming wireless charging pad called AirPower which promised the ability to simultaneously charge your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods.
With the arrival of iPhone 8 and iPhone X, the company introduced wireless charging to its devices. The technology means you can rest your device on a charging mat to juice the battery rather than plugging in a charging chord.
But to date, Apple has had to rely on third-party products (of which there are many) to provide this capability while promising its own game-changing tech to be released in 2018.
“We can make the wireless charging experience even better,” Apple executive Phil Schiller told the audience in 2017. “It might help move the entire industry forward.”
But last year came and went without a murmur on AirPower, leaving many to speculate why the product was so delayed. When the company removed almost all mention of the AirPower charger from its website last year, many thought it spelled the premature death of the device.
But hold off on writing the obituaries just yet because rumors abound that AirPower has gone into production.
Charging specialists ChargerLAB shared a post on social media recently that claimed a source close to Luxshare, the company which assembles Apple’s AirPods and USB-C cables, confirmed that AirPower was already in production.
Luxshare is a member of the Wireless Power Consortium behind the Qi standard of wireless charging devices.
ChargerLAB shared a screenshot of a text message conversation on popular Chinese app WeChat in which the source said they expected the product to be available soon, according to online translations.
It’s been reported that Apple engineers struggled with overheating problems as well as communication issues between the AirPower and devices placed on the mat, causing the long delay.
Earlier this month programmer Steven Troughton-Smith, who has written iPhone software in the past, took to social media saying he keeps hearing that Apple has “finally fixed it.”
Apple doesn’t comment on product speculation so only time will tell if this round of rumors actually come to anything. But if true, it sounds like AirPower could potentially launch in the first half of this year.
Whether it makes financial sense for customers to fork out for Apple’s long-awaited charging pad is another question altogether. Apple hasn’t indicated a price for AirPower but reports suggest it will cost somewhere in the range of $149 to $200 in the US, and could easily be more in the Australian market. If so, that might be a tough sell when Aussie customers can find dual charging pads for as little as $35.
APPLE RELEASES NEW SMART BATTERY CASES
In other Apple news this week, the company has launched brand new smart battery cases for its latest iPhone range, giving customers an added option to prolong their iPhone’s battery life while away from a power source.
According to Apple, the iPhone XS case adds up to 21 hours of internet use, 25 hours of video, or 33 hours of talk time. Similar benefits are provided by the XS Max case.
Meanwhile, the XR case gives users a bigger added boost of 22 hours of internet use, 33 hours of video, or 39 hours of talk time.
The smart battery cases cost $199 and can be found on the online Australian Apple store.
This story originally appeared in news.com.au.
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