Apple AirPower prototype video shows an Apple Watch being charged for the first time

apple airpower
(Image credit: Apple)

Despite the fact Apple’s AirPower was officially canceled in 2019, two years after it was first announced, prototypes keep popping up from time to time — showing us what Apple’s triple-device wireless charging pad could have been like. And there just happens to be another video making its way around the internet today.

This video comes from @AppleDemoYT on Twitter/X, showing off the alleged prototype charging an Apple Watch Series 4. Which is impressive, considering Apple Watches aren’t compatible with ordinary Qi chargers, and suggests that this really is an AirPower prototype of some kind.

In fact, while there have been many videos of alleged AirPower prototypes in the past few years, this may be the first time we’ve seen one that actually works with an Apple Watch.

AirPower was first announced in 2017 as a way to wirelessly charge your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods at the same time on a single charging pad. Being based on the Qi standard meant the pad could also charge non-Apple products, like Android phones, but the real benefit was the interactivity between Apple devices.

The goal of AirPower was to make wireless charging more intelligent, with the mat being able to detect which devices had been placed on it and offer the appropriate amount of energy. What’s more, the battery status of those devices was meant to appear on your iPhone display — so you could see exactly what was going on. 

The multitude of wireless charging coils inside the mat also meant that placement wasn’t a huge concern. Though this issue, if you can call it that, has since been rectified by the likes of MagSafe and Qi2 which use magnets for perfect alignment.

The only official explanation Apple gave about AirPower’s cancelation was that it “failed to meet Apple’s standards”. It wasn’t specified which the killing blow was, though it has been speculated that AirPower was inefficient and has issues with heating. 

DemoAppleYT notes that the Apple Watch 4 charged on the prototype definitely felt warm after a brief charging session which would seem to corroborate those claims. Unfortunately that has been a problem with wireless charging, especially in its formative years. Fortunately things have improved a lot since then.

Apple has obviously moved onto MagSafe as its wireless charging system of choice, while third parties have filled in the void by offering their own multi-device wireless chargers. In fact some of the best wireless chargers can handle two devices, plus an Apple Watch, though sadly they do miss out on AirPower’s software flourishes. 

Though maybe now we’ve seen AirPower working with an Apple Watch, we can give these prototype leaks a rest. AirPower isn’t likely to make a comeback anytime soon, and wireless charging seems to have moved on from the idea of making itself smart.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.