Apple has a tendency to announce products when it’s convenient, but not necessarily when they’re done. This has led to some significant waits for the company’s promised technological marvels to actually hit store shelves. The most recent example of this is the AirPower charging pad, which Apple announced alongside the iPhone X in 2017. After nearly a year and a half of silence, Apple may be on the verge of launching its first-party wireless charger.
It’s common for Apple to come up with its own Apple-only standards instead of adopting what everyone else is using (see: Lightning connectors). Surprisingly, Apple went with the nearly universal Qi standard for wireless charging on the iPhone X and iPhone 8. The newer iPhone XS and XR are also on Qi. However, this is still Apple, so it wanted to add its own secret sauce to wireless charging on top of Qi — that was the AirPower pad, which could charge multiple Apple devices and relay charging data directly to your phone.
According to a tweet from Hong Kong-based ChargerLAB, an Apple supplier has started manufacturing AirPower hardware. The post, which includes a Chinese-language WeChat log as proof, claims that Luxshare Precision is the first manufacturer to begin churning out AirPower pads. This company also makes Apple’s AirPods and USB-C cables. In a follow-up tweet, ChargerLAB notes that Apple supplier Pegatron will also begin producing AirPower on January 21st.
Breaking: AirPower is finally coming. We just learned from credible source in supply chain that the manufacture Luxshare Precision has already started producing Apple AirPower wireless charging pad. Luxshare Precision is also the maker of Apple AirPods and USB-C cables. pic.twitter.com/UqgWIAh3sx
— ChargerLAB (@chargerlab) January 12, 2019
Apple didn’t specify a launch date for AirPower when it announced the device, but the wait time started to get suspicious after a few months. Unverified (but entirely believable) reports claimed that Apple struggled to pack in enough coils to charge smaller devices like the Apple Watch and AirPods (with wireless case). With more coils, the prototype AirPower pads allegedly suffered from overheating and communication issues. We can only speculate here because Apple hasn’t talked about AirPower since that initial announcement.
According to the new claims, Apple has gone with a three-layer coil design. The top layer has eight coils, and the second and third layers both have seven. That should allow you to toss a compatible device on the charger anyplace to get 7.5W of power. Other charging pads tend to have smaller “sweet spots” where your phone will charge.
The new rumor suggests Apple will be able to hit a first-quarter 2019 launch. We don’t know the pricing yet, but previous rumors have pointed to $150 or $200.
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