Everything you should know about AirPower
BY Aron Devis September 15 2017
Apple’s iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X are official, and they’re designed for a wireless future.
But, you need something to charge these, and your other Apple devices, right? To that end, Apple has created AirPower.
Shown off as a sneak peek during Apple’s big event, AirPower is an Apple-designed wireless charging accessory that lets customers simultaneously charge up to three devices such as iPhone, Apple Watch 3 and AirPods. It is a feat Apple has never achieved before. It even has a new optional wireless charging case for AirPods.
Of course, as we know wireless charging is not a new thing. It’s been around on Android for years, but Apple is bringing its own charging standard to the tech that supports multi-device charging, and customizing it for its latest batch of devices.
Apple’s AirPower will actually do a lot to help bring about true wireless device use, since it solves a lot of the inconveniences and difficulties faced while using the wireless charging today such as supporting only one device per pad and requiring specific placement to charge.
As demonstrated in a video, AirPower begins to charge your Apple products almost as soon as they are placed on the mat. The iPhone X screen displays the AirPower interface, providing easy-to-read updates on the battery life of your devices.
Interestingly, the Apple Watch screen didn’t display battery life info in the video. We imagine this is a feature Apple will introduce when AirPower is released, otherwise you’ll always have to have your iPhone on the mat to get a reading.
How it works
The heart of the AirPower system is a thin, oval-shaped pad. And, while only the AirPods (in their optional case) fit snuggling on its surface, your Apple Watch and iPhone will have ample elbow room.
AirPower works with Qi charging technology, the leading wireless charging standard on the market.
While Qi is available in third-party charging mats from the likes of Belkin and others, AirPower is Apple’s proprietary solution to your new wireless charging needs.
Apple Watch previously made use of Qi wireless charging, included in a pad crafted by Apple. However, AirPower allows for up to three different devices to charge at once, making it more open than Apple’s previous effort.
This is also the first time wireless charging is available for the iPhone, and this is thanks to the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X’s glass backs. All devices support fast charging, which AirPower also offers.
But, AirPower is more than a mat; it’s a whole wireless charging system that allows devices to communicate and manage power consumption between them.
As Apple’s head of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said on stage today, this isn’t possible with other wireless charging systems currently available.
Schiller said, “We hope people love it, that it encourages others to create more advanced solutions based on technologies like this.”
Apple plans to work with the Qi standards team to bring AirPower’s features to other charging solutions in the future, Schiller said.
One major question about the AirPower system left unanswered is what the mat itself will connect to. There’s clearly a wire coming out of one side, and it’s likely AirPower will have a wall charger and/or USB to let you connect to a computer.
The Two key details that remain mystery is the price and release date of the AirPower mat.
All we know so far is that AirPower will release next year. As for how much it will cost, chances are it will be expensive.
Apple’s original Apple Watch Qi charger cost $79 (about £60, AU$100). The fact this new mat charges more devices will likely up its price.