AirPower’s Problem Was Not Physics

In September 2017 Apple announced AirPower, a wireless charging mat that would be able to charge multiple devices at the same time. Apple said it would ship sometime in 2018. 2018 came and went. Last week Apple made several hardware announcements describing updated iPads, iMacs, and AirPods. These were done via press release in advance of the big March 25 event that was focused on services. No mention of AirPower.

Today Apple canceled the product, saying "AirPower will not achieve our high standards". The twitterati, almost none of who are hardware engineers, are saying that physics makes this an unsolvable problem.

Lemme tell you about the multi-device wireless charger I have been using for more than a year. The Nomad Base Station has dual 10W wireless charging, a 18W USB-C PD port, and a 7.5W USB-A port. It can charge four devices at the same time. The tasteful black rounded rectangle is covered with a padded leather charging surface. Charging my iPhone, AirPods with wireless case, iPad Pro, and my Bose QC35 headphones simultaneously is no problem. It costs $99 and has been out for more than a year. They have another version of the same product that drops the USB ports for a MFi-certified Apple Watch charger. The Nomad Base Station has small, unobtrusive LED’s that emit an orange glow when charging, and turn white when charging has completed. It’s a well designed, beautiful product that perfectly does what it’s supposed to do.

This problem can be solved. Something went horribly wrong with AirPower, and it wasn’t bumping into the limits of physics.