The stillborn AirPower wireless charging system hung over Apple’s head for almost years, but the newer and arguably better MagSafe is slowly erasing it from people’s consciousness. As if to remind people again that it was almost a thing, an engineering prototype of what would have been the AirPower charging mat suddenly appears on the Internet. And more than just an early version of the device, it is also a working one that shows how close Apple was to launching what could have been a flawed product.
The history of the Apple AirPower is definitely one for the books. After announcing the wireless charging mat alongside the first wireless charging-capable iPhone in 2017, it took two years for Apple to finally admit that the AirPower was no longer going to hit the market. It was, in other words, unceremoniously canceled and shelved, later to be replaced by a more innovative MagSafe system.
Apple didn’t exactly come clean about why the AirPower was ditched other than it didn’t meet its famous standards of quality. Since the beginning, the Internet was filled with speculation that the company was unable to ensure the safety of the despite in light of higher thermal output. The MagSafe partially solved that by making sure that wireless charging coils aligned perfectly rather than utilizing multiple coils spread throughout the mat’s surface.
After another two years, the AirPower has resurfaced as a functional prototype. The lack of Apple’s signature minimalist white design suggests that this is more of an early engineering version than something close to release. It does, however, work well enough to be useful, though probably not within safe limits.
The video above also shows the animation that would have been shown when charging an iPhone, one that seemed almost close to its final version in contrast. There is still a chance that AirPower will be resurrected in the future, but, for now, Apple is all about MagSafe, which is starting to get copied by other phone makers.