Report Claims AirPower 'Doomed to Failure' Unless Apple Can Resolve Multiple Ongoing Engineering Issues

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
48,778
10,196



Despite the promise of a 2018 release date, Apple's long-awaited AirPower wireless charging mat remains unavailable, and almost all mentions of the device were last week removed from its website. This has prompted speculation over what could be behind the delay - and even whether the AirPower, which was announced over a year ago, will ever see the light of day.


Previous reports have touched upon the technical issues Apple has run into with the AirPower's design, but a new report published on Sunday by Sonny Dickson claims several pieces of exclusive information that shed light on the challenges Apple is still facing with the device, which is designed to charge the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once.

According to the report's multiple internal sources, many of those working on the AirPower project believe the device may be "doomed to failure" unless engineering solutions can be found for a host of currently unresolved issues, which include:
Heat management
Currently the device produces far too much heat, which causes performance setbacks, and can affect the ability of the devices to charge if they become too warm in the process. It also affects the ability of Apple's custom charging chip, which runs a stripped down version of iOS, to function as intended.
Buggy inter-device communication
Apple's engineers have been experiencing both hardware and software issues with the communication between AirPower and devices placed on the mat, especially the communication of Apple Watch and AirPod charging data to the iPhone, which monitors the charge level of all devices placed on the mat.
Mechanical and interference issues
The mechanism being used for multi-device charging [21 and 24 overlapping power coils of various sizes] is proving extremely difficult to build or refine, and has been resulting in a significant amount of interference... which reduces the efficiency of the charging mat, and contributes to the heat issues that engineers are facing.
Aside from heat and interference shielding, the report notes that the complexity of the circuitry in the device is also posing a significant challenge, which may not be overcome unless the device is redesigned to be slightly thicker and larger. However, Apple is said to be "unwilling to make compromises" on the AirPower's overall design.

Wrapping up, Dickson holds out hope that the AirPower could still debut before the end of the year, but claims that "the broad consensus among engineers suggests that this is highly unlikely".

Indeed, Dickson says chatter he's heard "less notable individuals involved with the project" suggest that the AirPower concept and trademark could eventually be applied to an all-new product with other unmentioned features, to be publicly shown at an undisclosed date "not likely to occur before Spring".

For those who remain steadfastly optimistic about the AirPower, Apple has a few more months to meet its self-imposed 2018 deadline for the device, so it's still possible we'll see the device debut via press release in October, November, or December.

Article Link: Report Claims AirPower 'Doomed to Failure' Unless Apple Can Resolve Multiple Ongoing Engineering Issues
 

Mydel

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2006
731
441
Sometimes here mostly there
With that level of complication the price would be way beyond acceptable levels. Wireless charging as it is now I find completely useless. There is no difference for me if i place phone or watch on the mat or hook it up via cable. I charge overnight anyway. Not to mention that efficiency is very low what directly translates to loss of power.
That technology is not promising. Once the real wireless technology will be available I will maybe change my mind. Lets say 3m range.
 

recoil80

macrumors 68030
Jul 16, 2014
2,941
2,547
I'd rather have a smaller pad capable of charging a single device for a start. Apple Watch is not Qi compatible so every time I go on vacation I need to bring two cables and at least one plug. Even when I'm at home I need to charge my Watch on the only place where I have the stand capable of charging.
I'd be willing to pay a premium for an Apple pad since I won't need the separate cable for the Watch (is isn't cheap at all) I don't really care about charging multiple devices at one. I mean, is cool, but if they can't find a way to do it properly they could just release a simple version.
 

walnuts

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2007
522
138
Brooklyn, NY
You know, while I think they should be more careful in the future, given that they make this sort of mistake almost never, I think it would be better (for Apple as a company and the customers) for them to just admit in some sort of press release that they bit off more than they could chew here are will table this until they could work out some more of the tech. They might be tempted to pretend they never make mistakes, but for me, admitting this one would do much more for their credibility here. Unless they really have figured this out, I think some sort of acknowledgement is inevitable ... better to get out in front.
 

MacWorld78

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2012
435
184
well, i find hard to believe they have some issues of the following list where they have the best & smartest engineering in the world.

Buggy inter-device communication
Mechanical
interference issues

or could be another clever marketing strategy to lure as much as people to buy iPhone 8/x wireless charging feature?
 
  • Like
Reactions: ArtOfWarfare

AppleMark

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2009
849
199
The CCTV Capital of the World
I have my RavPower wireless fast charger, so I'm good. Apple are too late to the wireless charging party...
Agreed.

Also at the price point Apple is likely to want to place this product (based on other Apple products), you would arguably be best suited with 2, or even 3 mats for the same price and as easily found on Amazon etc right now and getting cheaper and plentiful every couple of months.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Steve121178

il8on

macrumors newbie
Oct 31, 2016
12
4
I proclaim myself as one of Apple’s biggest fans but I glad this product is facing these challenges and uncertainty. ABOUT TIME! I miss the days projects were kept close to vest and magical products like this weren’t announced until they were available. I still plan to purchase two AirPower devices but my hope is it makes Apple be more cautious and thorough before announcing products and announcing release dates.
 
  • Like
Reactions: John webstar44

Eriamjh1138@DAN

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2007
612
387
BFE, MI
The overlapping coil design sounds great in concept, but coils that drive a signal creates a signal in other coils. Interference is the key word. This product may be physically (due to physics) impossible to build.

I imagine spacing the coils out created dead spots. What good is a mat you can place your devices anywhere if there are dead spots? It’s not anywhere any more.

Overheating means too much power loss in the coils. Inefficient means energy isn’t going into your phone or watch but instead is wasted. It also means slower charging.

Apple was wise not to say anything about this product and has learned a lesson. Never promise a future product that’s not fully developed.

Remember the 3GHz G5 PowerMac? Steve Jobs did.
 

Marshall73

macrumors 68000
Apr 20, 2015
1,666
1,412
Apple tried to create a multi-device interface to give meaningful info on device charging rather than being a dumb charging device. I suspect that it is this aspect that is causing the issues and agreeing this functionality with the Qi charging standard members is the sticking point.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.