Apple AirPower, an ambitious wireless charging mat, was ultimately a bit of an embarrassment for Apple. Announced publicly alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone X in 2017, the multi-device charger went unreferenced until Apple officially pulled the plug on it in March 2019, citing vague concerns about it not meeting the company’s "high standards." It’s rumored that it was worse than that, allegedly plagued by overheating due to the challenges inherent in making a multi-coil device.
But it appears that Apple hasn’t completely given up on the idea of AirPower, and in fact has dreams of giving it the kind of upgrade that would see it supersede the best wireless chargers currently out there.
Word of the multi-device charger comes from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman who, in the latest issue of his Power On newsletter, explains that Apple is still plotting a device that can charge an iPhone, AirPods and Apple Watch in tandem. But more than that, Apple apparently ultimately wants the product range to introduce true wireless charging — that is to say batteries filled over the air, without any contact at all.
This sort of thing has been demoed before by the likes of Xiaomi, but Apple apparently has ambitions to take it further still, with devices eventually able to wirelessly "charge each other." It would be a giant leap for a company that is usually slow to adopt newer cutting-edge tech. It still doesn't even offer reverse wireless charging, a feature found in the Samsung Galaxy S21.
"Imagine an iPad charging an iPhone and then that iPhone charging AirPods or an Apple Watch," Gurman writes.
The idea of true wireless charging was first mentioned in a Bloomberg report back in June, and was listed as "likely several years away." The closest Apple has come to reverse wireless charging is the ability for an iPhone to fill a MagSafe battery pack while plugged in.
But even if that product is the ultimate goal, it doesn’t mean that Apple won’t release less ambitious versions beforehand, of course. And a triple wireless charging pad is certainly an odd omission from Apple’s product range, especially when third-party options from Mophie ($89) and Belkin ($149) are available on company websites.
The best Apple offers, meanwhile, is the $129 MagSafe Duo charger which, as the name suggests, can only charge two products at a time, and has been criticized for not offering the fastest charging rates around. It would be very surprising if Apple didn’t have plans to correct this sooner rather than later. And Apple also needs to correct a few odd Bluetooth issues occurring for some iPhone 12 and 13 owners in certain cars.