Tech YouTuber Luke Miani managed to get hold of three Apple AirPower prototypes and demonstrate that they work – albeit briefly! The 91Tech channel has done the same.
The videos provide a very graphic demonstration of why Apple was forced to abandon the project very publicly…
The AirPower Story
First announced in September 2017 for delivery in early 2018, it was more than a year after the promised date that Apple finally had to admit defeat. AirPower wasn’t just delayed, it wasn’t pining for Cupertino, it didn’t officially exist.
It’s unlikely we’ll ever know the full story of why Apple promised a product it ultimately couldn’t deliver. What we can safely conclude is that it worked in a lab environment, after which Apple decided it was okay to announce it, but later it was overcome by practical problems in real life.
A number of reports suggested overheating was the problem, but you’d think it would be discovered early in testing.
Another theory is that with so many coils, the company couldn’t keep RF exposure below FCC limits. That seems more plausible to me, because it’s something that probably wouldn’t have come to light until further down the development path.
But whatever the truth may be, it put Apple in the most embarrassing position of announcing a product, with much fanfare; to have it promoted on its website; include references to it in other products; to have delayed its second-generation AirPods as a result… and then finally admit that it had officially given up.
“After much effort, we have come to the conclusion that AirPower will not meet our high standards and have canceled the project. Our apologies to the customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that wireless is the future and are committed to advancing the wireless experience,” said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering.
This isn’t the first time someone has gotten their hands on an AirPower prototype – we first saw one two years ago.
The video uploaded to bilibili shows a detailed disassembly of the alleged AirPower’s multiple layers.
In the video, we get a look at what appears to be a total of 14 wireless charging coils, tightly packed and layered over the surface of the device aimed at charging Apple devices wherever you placed them on the mat.
Another interesting aspect of the design is the keyboard-like metal frame that segments the dense amount of electronics inside the wireless charger.
DongleBook Pro got its hands on three prototypes, which it lent to Miani. One was a very early version, dating back to a year before Apple announced the product. It had 16 coils – and associated electronics for each. A second is a later one, with 22 coils.
The site has posted a teaser video online:
This was followed by the full video on Miani’s site, which you can watch below. Unfortunately, the prototypes only work for a second before shutting down and having to reboot.
In what appears to be coordinated uploads, 91Tech also posted a similar video – but they can’t get it to work.
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