Announced in 2017 at the iPhone X launch, the AirPower wireless charging mat was warmly welcomed by the media as a single charging point for up to three devices, enabling an iPhone, Apple and an AirPods wireless charging enclosure to be recharged simultaneously. Although Apple was not released at that time, Apple expected it to be released sometime in 2018, but it has unexpectedly remained silent last year.
According to sources of Sonny Dickson, the prospects for AirPower are grim, with the feeling that those with knowledge of the project suggest that it is doomed to fail, and is probably not available for the release unless "significant progress" is made.
Heat management is mentioned as one of the major problems with the product, with AirPower generating too much heat, which in turn influences the performance and power of devices placed on the mat in the first place. Heat is also said to affect Apple's modified loading chip.
A second problem, which has to do with the connection between devices, causes problems with the activation of the charging, the charging speed and the accuracy of the charging levels. The problem is apparently worse for the AirPod case and the Apple, because both devices have to communicate with the iPhone to check the charge level of each device on the mat, something taken over by the mat itself.
A major problem is the mechanism that the mat uses for loading on multiple devices. Qi wireless charging is dependent on inductance between two coils for power delivery, but AirPower uses between 21 and 24 power coils of different sizes, the report of which claims that it is suitable for the three main devices that will be used for charging.
AppleInsider has been aware since 2017 that the only way to implement Apple's vision is with multiple flux generators, as described by Dickson as a maximum of 24 current coils.
This multiple coil configuration has numerous associated challenges, including a significant amount of interference build-up and heat generation. This is partly caused by the use of different coils of different sizes, which are also overlapping to fit in a limited footprint.
The complex circuits associated with the coils are also identified as a problem for the product and it is unlikely that this will be remedied without making the AirPower mat thicker and larger. It is believed that Apple will not compromise on thickness and size for the device, despite the technical challenges.
The probability that there will be an AirPower launch before the end of 2018 is small and engineers connected to the project suggest that it is unlikely that they will take place. References to the product have been removed from the Apple website and further suggest that there will soon be no launch in the current form of AirPower.
Some "less noticeable people involved in the project" apparently suggest that the concept and trademark of AirPower will be reused, but on a completely new product instead of the previously damaged mat. Functions are not known and it is unlikely that a future public disclosure will take place before spring.