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Unveiling the Apple AirPower Prototype: A Glimpse into Wireless Charging Challenges

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A recent video shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, exhibits a prototype of the Apple AirPower charging an Apple Watch Series 4 using Qi technology. The AirPower, initially introduced in 2017, was meant to be a Qi wireless charging mat capable of simultaneously charging an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and AirPods. However, despite its announcement, the product never made it to market shelves, and Apple officially scrapped it in 2019.

Reports suggest that Apple encountered various challenges during the development of the AirPower charging mat, including complexities related to multi-device charging circuitry and issues with excessive heat generation, which even resulted in device melting. Consequently, Apple abandoned the project.

The Apple Watch traditionally requires a magnetic disk for charging and isn’t compatible with Qi wireless chargers. Thus, the prospect of charging it alongside other devices on a wireless charging mat, eliminating the need for multiple cables, would be a significant advancement.

A recent video posted by the user Apple Demo on X appears to display a variant of the same old AirPower prototype that has been circulating since the project’s announcement. In the post, Apple Demo mentions that the Apple Watch becomes quite warm when placed on the AirPower, indicating persistent issues encountered during development.

The AirPower, designed with 16 coils spread across the mat, aimed to allow users to place their devices anywhere on it to initiate charging. Apple even demonstrated that the devices would display a specific animation when positioned on the AirPower mat.

However, it seems Apple has moved away from developing the AirPower wireless charging mat, shifting its focus to the MagSafe system introduced with the iPhone 12. MagSafe technology utilizes an array of magnets around a wireless charging coil on the back of the iPhone, enabling easy attachment of accessories such as a wireless MagSafe charger, cases, and wallets.



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