Tim Cook announced AirPower in 2017 and showed a lot of enthusiasm for a charging pad that could charge different Apple products all at once. But the project was eventually scrapped in 2019 without any big announcements about why it was impossible.
YouTuber 91Tech obtained a prototype of the proposed AirPower wireless charger that Apple wanted to launch for the consumers. Obtaining a prototype of a canceled project is a huge deal. 91Tech sourced it from another YouTube channel that obtained the device before it would be lost in recycling units.
Does the AirPower prototype work?
Apple AirPower aimed to do the impossible – charge multiple devices with different battery capacity and charging requirements at once. It was the sole reason behind its complexity and why Apple opted to shut it down. Apple originally thought of pushing wearables and iPhones to support wireless charging, and the AirPower could be a one-size-fits-all kind of product.
But that idea was difficult to execute. Usually, a wireless charging pad uses Qi charging and has a single coil running beneath the pad. But the AirPower prototype had 22 different coils, each with microprocessors to control individual coil charging.
AirPower prototype that 91Tech got his hands on, however, never made the cut. It was designed for a factory testing prototype, but Apple canceled the project, and it was discarded for recycling. He ran a bunch of commands to check if the AirPower prototype responded, and it did. At first, it was incoherent numbers, but he soon fixed it to coherent output information. AirPower originally didn’t have 22 coils, and some models have 14 or 16. But the sticker on the product depicted that it was indeed a late-stage prototype with 22 coils.
91Tech tried to test multiple iPhone models to see if they responded to the AirPower. Sadly, none of them worked. Since then, Apple has never made any public announcements about why the AirPower project failed and if there is a 2.0 coming in the future. For now, iPhones have MagSafe which snaps onto and charges any model ranging from iPhone 8 to the latest iPhone 13.