Tech YouTuber Luke Miani has managed to get his hands on three Apple AirPower prototypes and demonstrate them, albeit briefly! The 91Tech channel did the same.
The videos provide a very graphic demonstration of why Apple was forced to very publicly abandon the project…
The Air Power 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 dreaming of Cupertino, it was officially non-existent.
It’s unlikely we’ll ever know the full story of why Apple promised a product that it ultimately couldn’t deliver. What we can safely conclude is that it worked in a lab environment, at which point Apple decided it was correct to announce it, but was later overcome by practical issues in use real.
A number of reports have suggested that overheating was the problem, but that’s something you’d think would be discovered early in testing.
Another theory is that having so many coils meant the company was unable to keep RF exposure below FCC limits. This seems more plausible to me, as it’s something that probably wouldn’t have been revealed until later in the development path.
But whatever the truth, it left Apple in the extremely embarrassing position of having announced a product, with considerable fanfare; having promoted it on its website; including references to it in other products; having delayed his second-generation AirPods as a result… and ultimately having to admit that he had officially given up.
“After much effort, we concluded that AirPower would not meet our high standards and we canceled the project. We apologize to customers who have been looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and we are committed to advancing the wireless experience,” said Dan Riccio, senior vice president of hardware engineering at Apple.
This isn’t the first time someone has gotten their hands on an AirPower prototype – we saw one two years ago.
The video uploaded to bilibili showing a detailed disassembly of the alleged multiple layers of the AirPower.
In the video, we look at what appear to be 14 wireless charging coils in total, tightly packed and layered on the surface of the device that was meant to charge Apple devices wherever you placed them on the mat.
Another interesting aspect of the design is the keyboard-like metal frame segmenting the dense amount of electronics packed into the wireless charger.
DongleBook Pro got its hands on three prototypes, which it loaned to Miani. One was a very old version, dating back a year before Apple announced the product. This one had 16 coils – and the associated electronics for each. A second is more recent, with 22 coils.
The site has uploaded a teaser video:
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 be restarted.
In what appear to be coordinated uploads, 91Tech also posted a similar video:
Check out this video below for more Apple news: