As the new year begins in Pacific Time, where Apple’s Cupertino headquarters are based, the AirPower charging mat has officially missed its 2018 release window.
The charging mat promised to charge iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods on a single compact mat with flexibility on where devices can be placed. However, the product has been rumored to have faced internal development challenges as late as this past summer, which prevented Apple from bringing the product to market as smoothly as it expected.
The AirPower mat distinguished itself from standard single-device Qi charging mats in several ways. Most significantly, Apple advertised that the mat could charge a Watch, AirPods, and an iPhone — and also support an alternate configuration where the mat charged two iPhones simultaneously.
The AirPower mat would also coordinate with its charging iOS devices to display charging percentages on the iPhone lock screen.
Here’s how Apple SVP Phil Schiller positioned the mat at the iPhone X event in September 2017:
We hope people love it, that it encourages others to create more advanced solutions based on technology like this. We’re going to be working with the Qi standards team to incorporate these benefits into the future of the standards to make wireless charging better for everyone. So look for the AirPower charger next year.
Clearly, Apple neither launched the mat in 2018 nor has the Qi standard seen any contribution to date from Apple on how to charge multiple devices simultaneously, without clear sweet spots for where the devices must be placed. Apple is also yet to nail down availability for the companion AirPods wireless charging case.
Aside from availability, Apple has also remained mum on pricing. At this point, it’s not clear whether AirPower has been cancelled altogether or is still expected to debut sometime soon. At the end of last year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seemed confident that the product could be released in the first quarter.
Unusually, Apple has not provided a statement to press with an update on AirPower’s status. Apple refused to acknowledge the product at its September and October events, and has not responded to press requests for comment at the end of December. The product therefore enters 2019 still in limbo.