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Apple engineers might have AirPower prototypes at home while they fix overheating problems

AirPower wireless charger
AirPower wireless charger (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • AirPower was canned last year because of overheating problems.
  • We've heard reported that it might be a live project again.
  • A leaker says engineers have prototypes in-hand while working on them.

UPDATE – Jon Prosser has confirmed to iMore that the image he tweeted is indeed the actual product engineers are currently testing.

AirPower. That's a thing, right? It might be more than a thing if you've been reading leaker and YouTuber Jon Prosser's tweets today – he reckons the project is not only back on, but that Apple might have fixed the overheating problem that saw it killed off in the first place.

For those who have pushed all memories of AirPower to the back of the mind, a refresher. AirPower was announced alongside iPhone X in 2017 and then we heard nothing. We heard nothing until Apple finally canned the project last year, saying that it just couldn't make the thing work properly. We were told that's because the charging mat liked to catch fire which, obviously, isn't a good thing.

Fast forward to today and we have Prosser saying that AirPower is in the hands of engineers as they work on getting it out the door all over again. This time, it's called "C38". Presumably the C stands for combustion.

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But wait, there's more. Prosser says that the overheating was caused by the way Apple Watch charges and that Apple intends to use the A11 chip to manage the charging process to try and prevent it from making AirPower too warm.

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It isn't clear how dynamically changing power output would affect the rate at which things charge, but that's perhaps a question for another time. Assuming AirPower ever finds its way out of the engineering team's basement long enough for someone to test it out.

Oh, and that photo in the first tweet? It isn't clear whether that's a photo of C68 or not. I've reached out to the man himself for clarification and will update here when I know more.

Jon has now confirmed this is indeed C68 being tested

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

2 Comments
  • Why would I want this (or any wireless charger)? It can’t charge my iPads, nor does it look like it can charge my Apple Watch with its link bracelet. I’ll keep my beautiful Dodo Case Apple Wach Charger, and versatile charging cables.
  • Maybe you wouldn't want this. Doesn't mean others wouldn't. I was looking forward to it for travel. One thing with one cord and one wall wart to handle the iPhone, Watch, Airpods. Even a second phone if need be. I carry more than one and the second does Qi charging too. I actually have a unit that already does this by Hard Cider Labs (https://hardciderlabs.com/blogs/blog/review-by-imore). The drawback is what is covered in the review. Placement is specific and a bit touchy, but it works. My hope is that Apple's would be more forgiving. If I pick up my phone half asleep and put it back, bumping the watch would result in a dead watch in the morning. If they get this to work, in the manner they intended, I'll buy one.
    P.S. I love wireless charging and it is a source of great disappointment that my iPad(s) don't support it.