Can we just mourn the loss of AirPower one last time, please?

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

Oh, AirPower. I feel like I knew you so well yet I knew you not at all. You left us before your time and yet, like a phoenix from the flames, you rose again to grab headlines one last time. And now I mourn all over again.

Drama aside — how cool would AirPower have been if Apple had managed to find a way to cool the damned thing down? Very cool, that's how cool.

We all know the story of AirPower. Apple announced it, then it went quiet. Then it was coming, then it wasn't. Then Apple confirmed it was dead after a couple of years of rumors that it was struggling to deal with the heat generated by the 20+ charging coils it was said to use. And that was the end of that.

And then, today happened. And someone shared a video of a working AirPower — albeit without its fancy plastic shell — doing its thing on Twitter.

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There it is, charging an iPhone 12 without a care in the world. And here I am, once more wondering what could have been.

For those with short memories or have simply managed to block out the AirPower debacle, what made it so interesting was the fact you could slap an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods down wherever you wanted and they would charge. You'd get a fancy animation on-screen and the iPhone would even display the charge level of all of the devices, too. It was magic, and that's probably one of the reasons it never made it to market.

But it still might, at least in some form. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently said that some form of AirPower is still being worked on deep inside Apple Park.

Apple is still working on something similar to AirPower according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. While not necessarily the AirPower that was snatched from us far too soon, it's clear that Apple isn't going to give this one up without a fight.The Cupertino company is still exploring a future wireless charger that works similarly to its failed AirPower, a charging mat designed to simultaneously power up an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods, the people said.

I so hope that's the case. Sure, we have a plethora of wireless iPhone chargers these days and yes, MagSafe is now a thing that exists but didn't back in the AirPower days. But none of these chargers can hold a candle to what AirPower promised. And even if you can put your AirPods and iPhone anywhere on them, they won't charge an Apple Watch. They aren't AirPower, and that sucks.

So there, I've said it. I'd love Apple to get AirPower out the door, even if it would probably cost as much as a low-end iPhone to buy!

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

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.

4 Comments
  • I'll take my Anker Powerwave 4 in 1 over AirPower any day. It charges my phone, watch, AirPods and iPad Mini simultaneously. The phone & watch sit at angles where I can see activity rather than having them lay flat. I never got the appeal of a flat mat. It may be fine for bed time, but as a desk accessory, it's useless.
  • Nomad's Base Station Pro is for all intents and purposes an AirPower workalike. If you've got some $$$ burning a hole in your pocket, you too can have drop-anywhere wireless charging. https://www.imore.com/e?link=https2F2Flinks%2F1...
  • Pretty close, but no cigar. You have to glue an Apple Watch charger to it to make it support the watch. Nit picky I know, but that was the promise of AirPower, the unique feature, and likely what caused its demise. The watch is a slightly different tech than Qi. Having to add all the coils for Qi and another set of coils for psuedo-Qi, with the likely interference between them is probably the problem.
  • I swear, I just don't get the allure of so-called "wireless charging". First, there is a wire right there, going to the thing you have to put your phone on. It is NOT "wireless". The wire just goes into a different box. Second, it generates lots of heat. Which means that it is horribly inefficient. Because Physics 101. Not to mention that heating up your phone and battery every day will shorten the life of both. Third, you pick up your phone, the charging stops. Imagine if "wireless networking" worked this way. You carefully put your phone on the "wireless networking" pad. You pick it up to use it, and the "wireless networking" connection is gone. Huh? WTH. When my iPhone/iPad/whatever needs charging, I plug it in. It is fast/efficient, the phone does not get hot, AND I can hold it/use it while it is charging.