It’s quite rare for Apple to announce a new technology at one of its hardware launch events, then scuttle it afterwards, but that’s exactly what happened with its much-hyped AirPower charging mat. The tantalizing mat would have been able to charge three Apple devices at once: an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods, but alas it has never seen the light of day. Though it was once listed on the Apple website, reports emerged that not even the wizards at Apple could figure out how to make the darn thing work, but according to an Apple beat reporter Mark Gurman via ArsTechnica, Apple might have something even better in the works.
In his latest newsletter, Gurman is speculating that Apple is still working on a three-device charger, which it first announced way back in 2017 with the launch of the iPhone X, but apparently is also aiming even higher than a simple mat you drop your Apple products onto. He reports the company is currently tinkering with “true wireless charging,” meaning charging devices from a distance instead of having to put your device on a very specific area of a mat, as well as reverse-charging, meaning one device could charge another.
According to 9to5Mac, Gurman writes, “I do think Apple is still working on some sort of multi-device charger that it intends to eventually release. There’s a reason why it planned to launch the device in the first place in 2017. I also believe Apple is working on short and long distance wireless charging devices and that it imagines a future where all of Apple’s major devices can charge each other. Imagine an iPad charging an iPhone and then that iPhone charging AirPods or an Apple Watch.”
This is not the first time we’ve heard these types of rumors about Apple’s future charging plans, as famed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thought Apple would be adding bilateral charging to its iPhone lineup all the way back in 2019. This would have allowed a phone to charge a device placed on its back, but obviously it never came to fruition. Interestingly, Samsung does allow this type of charging on many of its Smartphones, but Apple never has.
These are all intriguing concepts, and as always it’s interesting to see what Apple comes up with when it’s either entering a product category for the first time or attempting to offer a better solution than what exists currently. However, given the fact that it’s been four years since we first saw the AirPower mat and Apple still can’t make a mat that charge three devices at once, we’re going to guess the wireless charging technology should be available soon, just in time for the iPhone 27 launch.
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