We were recently surprised to find out that Apple's aborted AirPower wireless charging pad was back from the dead. And the source of that leak has now returned with some more details of exactly how Apple plans to fix what was wrong with the initial version of the product.
Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech tweeted an update to his original post about AirPower, revealing new details such as the codename, component information and Apple's future plans to build a 'portless iPhone' that could be the iPhone 13.
AirPower(2) update:Apple believes is “necessary to push portless iPhone”Codename “Callisto” (same as original)Less but larger transmitter coils than V.1 (trying to solve overheating w/less overlap)Prototype material is a white leather, instead of the original silicone pic.twitter.com/BpHG3rbAY5March 24, 2020
First off, Apple has decided to keep the internal name for AirPower as "Callisto", which as Prosser notes is what the first iteration of AirPower was also called. This makes it sound like Apple considers this a continuation of the original project, despite allegedly starting from scratch in order to fix the problems the company encountered the first time around.
We also see from this tweet that Apple's now using a white leather exterior for its prototypes, and has changed the original wireless charging coils out for fewer coils of a larger size. White leather is an interesting choice for a company that doesn't tend to use natural materials for its products, excluding the option of leather straps for the Apple Watch. However, it does mean that the charging pad should feel like a luxury item.
The charging coils change is a lot more important though. Overheating was one of the two major problems that stopped Apple from releasing the original AirPower, so hopefully having fewer coils will mean less heat. The other problem was interference between multiple devices charging at once, but since charging an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods case all at once was meant to be a key selling point for AirPower, Apple is unlikely to change that unless it has no other options.
The final thing worth exploring is the portless iPhone comment. A smartphone without ports has been proposed and made as a concept several times, but nobody has yet popularized the ldea. Apple is definitely not at the forefront of this tech, given that it's still clinging onto its proprietary Lightning port rather than changing to USB-C for user convenience. However, we're intrigued by a portless iPhone, as once Apple takes up a feature, you can be sure that other manufacturers will do their best to follow suit.
There's no timetable for the release of the new AirPower, but we're not betting on this year. Getting it ready in time for a fall release alongside the iPhone 12 would be a challenge in the best of times, let alone in the current chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Apple likely wouldn't make this radical change at least until the iPhone 13.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.