2017 feels like so long ago, doesn’t it? The iPhone X was brand new, and we were all debating on whether or not that notch was an eyesore or not.
But we can’t forget about AirPower, that other device Apple announced almost two years ago. It’s hard to argue the fact that Apple’s first proprietary wireless charging mat made waves. Social media was buzzing about not only the 10th anniversary iPhone, but also the wireless charging mat you’d be able to charge that fancy new smartphone on. Despite the fact Apple gave us a vague “before the end of 2017” and didn’t give us anything at all about price, excitement was high for AirPower.
But then things got wonky.
I’m not going to give a full eulogy here for AirPower, because, well, it was just an accessory. Yes, it was exciting in its own right because Apple was venturing into new territory, but it really was just an accessory. And it probably would have been expensive, too. I never got a “This will be one of Apple’s cheap devices” vibe from the AirPower. Did you?
When 2018 kicked off, there were already rumors swirling around that we’d see AirPower launch some time in the spring. By the time August rolled around, word on the street was that AirPower would arrive in the fall, with expectations it would be priced around $199. Throw in rumors of a wireless charging case for the truly wireless AirPods and you’ve got a perfect storm. AirPower was surely coming soon, because Apple’s wireless future would really take off with that necessary accessory.
September’s event rolled around, we got new iPhones, including the iPhone XS Max, but . . . No wireless charging mat. And to make matters worse, Apple actually removed AirPower from its website. We probably should have been reading the tea leaves right then. Apple had indeed been perfectly silent regarding AirPower as a whole ever since it debuted in 2017, and removing the wireless charging mat from the website should have been the death knell.
But rumors and expectations and, perhaps worse of all, hope, persisted. Even when we heard AirPower was “doomed to failure” because of the design, it still felt possible that Apple was just biding its time, refining the hardware, and still planning to launch the device.
Things kicked into full gear when Apple had a busy week earlier this month, announcing new iPads, new iMacs, and finally launching the oft-rumored second-generation AirPods with a wireless charging case. AirPower felt inevitable, and, sure enough rumors grew, with a finger pointed directly at the end of March for an impending launch.
But instead of a launch we got a cancellation. That’s quite the turnaround! Today, the last week day of March, Apple officially cancelled the wireless charging mat, saying it did not reach the company’s high standards of quality. Yes, a company that seems okay with an $800+ tablet bending is not happy with the design of the AirPower. Okay! Whatever the case, AirPower is dead and that means we have to move on. (Until Apple gets around to releasing something else. Maybe.)
I hadn’t really put any thought into whether or not I was waiting for AirPower, because, to be honest, I wasn’t entirely convinced it was ever going to launch. Back when Apple pulled any reference for the product from its website, it just felt like that was it. Whatever the issues were behind-the-scenes, AirPower never really felt like a done deal, an inevitable product. So I guess I didn’t get attached.
But then, just now, I bought a wireless charging mat and I realized that, had Apple actually put the AirPower up for sale today I probably would have bought one. So I guess I was waiting for it. Hoping for it. So I decided to write up a brief eulogy and officially pour one out for the abandoned accessory.
This doesn’t happen often, so maybe that’s why it hurts the heart a bit. We’re saying goodbye to a device we never really even had a chance to say hello to. That’s a shame.
So, tell me, what do you think Apple should do now? Do you think they should redesign AirPower and start fresh? Maybe actually announce a new wireless charging mat later this year and launch the thing two weeks later (with new iPhones)? Or do you think this is something the company should just give up on altogether?