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With Apple’s forthcoming AirPower charging mat they actually did something very unusual: they announced the product before it was ready to go. It looks like it’s coming out soon, so here’s what you need to know.
All signs right now point to the AirPower charger shipping towards the end of March. Apple has also traditionally done a hardware announcement in March, and it would be a perfect opportunity to do the, “Oh and available now from Apple Stores is…” style of announcement they love so much. They also previously announced it for 2018 way back in September so they’ve had plenty of time to iron out any kinks.
Most wireless chargers can only charge one device at once. While the execution is simple—place phone on mat, watch phone charge—the work they do behind the scenes to make sure that your phone gets the right amount of power in the right way, is pretty complex. Phones can occasionally turn into bombs so no major tech company wants to make a balls of things with chargers. This is why they’ve generally been limited to charging one device at once.
The AirPower charger promises to charge three devices at once which is definitely a step up if you’ve gone all in on a wireless future. Apple is probably imaging one person charging their iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods at the same time over night, but it will work with any combination of devices that can charge wirelessly using the Qi standard, including Android phones.
Realistically, however, if you’re considering the AirPower charger, you’re probably up to your armpits in Apple’s ecosystem. Here are the Apple devices it will support:
There’s also a chance that Apple’s next generation of iPads will be supported but I wouldn’t hold your breath. From the press photos you can see in this article, it looks like an iPad would dwarf the AirPower mat. Similarly, the bigger batteries would take longer to charge.
Apple products tend to be expensive. They’re very rarely overpriced, but you do pay a premium. You can expect the same from the AirPower charger.
Right now, good wireless chargers cost around the $40 mark, though some cost upwards of $60. Since these chargers can only do one device at once, I would be very surprised if the AirPower charger went for less than $100. My gut tells me it will be in the $120 to $150, with $200 as almost-to-premium-even-for-Apple upper threshold.
Whatever end of the price range it falls, this isn’t going to be the charger to buy if you’re just looking to wirelessly charge a single iPhone but for those rocking the newest Apple gear it could be quite tempting.
As Apple’s supply chain has gotten bigger, leaks and rumors have become more accurate. While I wouldn’t bet my own kidney on it, I would happily bet my editor’s kidney that we’ll see the AirPower charger towards the end of this month.
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