Apple’s Missing Wireless Charging Mat and Upgraded AirPods

July 19, 2018 •


Image via Apple

Over the past 12-to-18 months, Apple has announced several products that have either been delayed, extremely delayed, or, now, completely failed launch. Under Steve Jobs’ direction, the company would never speak about, yet alone announce, a product that did not have a specified launch date.

With the announcement of AirPods in late 2016, the HomePod in 2017, and the new wireless charging mat, at least three products have missed their launches. Tagging along with this missing charging mat is a set of rumors about the second generation AirPods, which are said to feature wireless charging abilities. Are they related?

Case of the missing AirPower mat

Originally announced alongside iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple highlighted their own first party Qi-standard wireless charging mat, AirPower. Qi wireless chargers have been around for almost a decade, but Apple is hoping to put its own spin on the standard.

The AirPower mat will have the ability to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and second generation AirPods, Apple’s wireless ear buds. Multi-device charging is currently not an option with the existing Qi standard. Moreover, the iPhone will communicate with the other charging devices and give a visual representation of their charging status, becoming the monitor for all three devices.

Currently, the rumor mill is having a difficult time narrowing the reason for a launch delay. Complications could be caused by:

  • the multi-contact requirement for resonance charging
  • the iOS software integration that shows charging status for other devices
  • Qi-standard’s resistance to allow Apple its own entry to the lineup

Recently, well known Apple analyst Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, claimed the AirPower charger should be released before or during September 2018. If true, this would possibly correlate with the launch of new handsets and prove a full 12 month’s launch period since the initial announcement. Apple’s AirPods and HomePod devices did not see that long of a delay. But, to Apple’s credit, AirPower was to be launched in 2018. September 2018, is, well, within 2018. Although a long time will have passed between the initial announcement and launch, Tim Cook and team are still well within their initial promise.

AirPods, second generation

While also seeing an initial launch delay, Apple’s wireless bluetooth and W1 chip enabled earbuds have seen an incredible success. Naturally, the secretive company does not release accessory sales numbers. However, just anecdotally, one can now see AirPods out in the general population. They are often met with glowing reviews at online retailers and tech podcasters speak very highly of their convenience.

Several rumors are mounting about the second generation, or a second version, of Apple’s headset. Aside from being compatible with the AirPower wireless charger, the new headphones may feature noise cancellation, water proof capabilities, and high fidelity audio. These claims are somewhat corroborated, also by Gurman of Bloomberg, in a late-June report.

Rumors aside, both the AirPower mat and second generation AirPods should be part of a large hardware update coming this fall. With updates expected for the iMac, Mac Book(s), Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePods, iPhones and iPads, there is a lot that must be announced before year end.