Apple is not a company that enjoys giving up on a good idea. Take its planned wireless charging mat, AirPower, for example. This would have allowed you to charge multiple devices anywhere on the pad’s surface, but Apple ultimately could not get it to market. When Apple regretfully announced the termination of its pet project in late March 2019, the firm said, “We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”
Look at Apple today and that assertion appears to be truer than ever, with the company bringing wireless charging to an increasing number of devices – not least with the arrival of MagSafe on the new iPhone 12 series. It pairs a ring of magnets embedded into the back of the new iPhones with a disc-shaped MagSafe charger (similar to the one the Apple Watch has), with the aim being to deliver more power more efficiently than most Qi chargers can manage. The magnets help lock the iPhone 12 to its charger more securely, enabling it to deliver up to 15W of power; regular wireless charging (on iPhone 8) or later is limited to a maximum power delivery rate of 7.5W, meaning such devices will take longer to charge.
With Apple’s stated wireless charging aims in hand, what can we expect to see from the Cupertino company in the next few years? Let’s see what the future holds.
Long live AirPower?
Remember when Apple channelled its inner courage and dropped the 3.5mm headphone jack from its iPhones? That may have only been half of the story. Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that 2021’s flagship iPhone will come with no ports at all – no headphone, no Lightning, not even USB-C, all sacrificed on the altar of wireless connectivity. That idea certainly fits in with Apple’s philosophy of forging ahead with wireless features, and iPhone ports would be far from the first casualty in Apple’s crusade: just ask Mac fans about Ethernet ports, CD drives and SD card readers. Without a Lightning port, wirelessly charging your iPhone will no longer be optional – it will be mandatory.
If Apple really is determined to foist wireless charging on iPhone users one way or another, what charging solutions does it have up its sleeve? One way to determine what the firm might be up to is to examine reports from its supply chains and third-party analysts. And according to rumours and leaks, far from abandoning the project, Apple is actually pushing ahead with AirPower, determined not to let a promising product go to waste. We may even see it re-emerge within the next year, if prominent leakers like Jon Prosser are to be believed – although you should take this with a pinch of salt, as there is no way we can externally verify the reports.
Another way we can surmise what Apple might be planning is through the patents it has filed and won. While these by no means guarantee that the depicted products will ever see the light of day, they do at least signal the ideas that Apple is interested in pursuing.
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