It's not unusual for tech companies to announce products that, for one reason or another, never hit store shelves. In fact, much of what we see at CES every year becomes vaporware.
Apple, however, usually does exactly what it says it's going to do when it says it's going to do it. That's why the continued absence of the AirPower — the wireless charging pad designed to simultaneously juice up an iPhone, an Apple Watch and some AirPods — is so baffling. The company announced the AirPower in September 2017 and promised to deliver in 2018, but the product hasn't been seen since. Apple didn't respond to CNET's request for comment on the product's status.
There's been no shortage of opportunities to debut the device, however. Apple hosted four major events in 2018, two of which featured new phones and watches — products supposedly compatible with AirPower. This month alone, Apple has announced two new iPads, a new iMac and second-generation AirPods in addition to a new Apple TV Channels streaming service, a premium gaming service called Apple Arcade and a digital news and magazine aggregator. The company even figured out how to roll out a significant financial initiative hidden inside of a credit card.
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The wireless charging pad, however, has so far proven elusive. So much so that Apple's extended silence about the AirPower has now generated an air of suspense rare for charging accessories.
But where there's mystery, the Internet shall supply rumor. And so we present to you all of the latest and most interesting things we know, or think we know, about the Apple AirPower.
Confirmed: AirPower was designed to charge iPhones, the Apple Watch and AirPods simultaneously
Let's start with the basics. Apple has said that the AirPower will charge multiple devices at the same time — and help devices communicate with each other to manage power consumption. Apple's AirPower demo from last September shows the iPhone screen tracking the battery status of all the devices currently on the charger. It isn't clear if this will work with non-Apple devices, or if the technology has been built into the modern iPhones as well as the AirPower pad.
Confirmed: Apple keeps releasing products that are compatible with contactless charging
There are now lots of Apple products that support wireless charging: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, the old AirPods (with the addition of an $80 wireless-compatible charging case) and the new AirPods. All of those work with any standard Qi wireless charger. The Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch Series 4, meanwhile, do not work with Qi chargers, but should work with AirPower.
And though there's still no Apple wireless charger, there's a growing number of compatible devices from other manufacturers that can do the job. In fact, Samsung's Galaxy S10 can not only wirelessly charge a smartwatch or set of earbuds, it can charge another phone — including an iPhone.
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Confirmed: Apple continues to drop low-key AirPower references
Is Apple gaslighting us? For months, the company has been casually dropping AirPower mentions in its listings, manuals and product packaging — but inconsistently. There's a breezy note included on the new AirPods box, confirming that the wireless earbuds are indeed compatible with the AirPower mat.