At a sudden turn of events, Apple canceled its long-awaited AirPower wireless charger . The company justified this because the product did not meet its “high standards”, but did not give a convincing explanation or determined the reason. In this article we will attempt to provide a technical explanation of what happened.
AirPower was first introduced to the public in September 2017 during the detection of the iPhone X. The company promised a single wireless charging deck that could charge three devices at the same time, such as the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods.
Apple planned to launch AirPower the following year for the iPhone X, in 2018. However, it has been accompanied by a wave of delays. By 2018, speculation of its cancellation was considerable, especially after Apple removed entirely on its website any mention of the product a year after its announcement.
With the beginning of 2019, there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon as rumors surfaced that the company was starting to produce AirPower and that it was on the rise, suggesting that the product could be put on the market soon. Very soon, in fact, so much so that the beta version of iOS 12.2 – which was released just ten days before the AirPower cancellation – included official support for the charger. The back of the second generation AirPods headset contains an illustration of the wireless charging surface.
Excessive heat and overlapping of components
Wireless charging pads use electromagnetic induction to charge your device. Both the platform and your phone have copper wire coils: the platform pulls the electrical current from the outlet and passes it through the copper wire, creating an electromagnetic field. This field, in turn, sends an electric current to the line in your phone, which is used to charge the battery.
However, the electricity that is transferred to your phone is not perfectly clean or perfect. Where they generate some noise, which can interfere with other wireless devices. For this reason, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and regulators in other countries have placed strict limits on wireless broadcasting.
Noise emanating from a single scroll may not pose a problem, but each scrolling wave generates a slightly different wave from the other. But when these waves intertwine, their strength condenses because of their proximity. Such as when ocean waves collide and increase in altitude, the intensity of radio frequencies can intensify during their interaction.
The management of these interfacing interconnections is an incredibly technical challenge, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to increase the number of coils that the manufacturer integrates.
According to patent designs, Apple’s ambitious plan seems to have been to use more coils than other shipping platforms in the market, where there are between 21 and 24 rolls of various sizes.
For other multi-device wireless chargers, you have two or three coils side-by-side, but this requires you to place your device on the area with the latch to start charging. With AirPower, Apple was trying to create a large charging surface using nested coils, allowing it to run multiple devices from anywhere on the charger’s surface. But this poses many challenges both in manufacturing and repairability.
Some engineers have experience in building wireless charging systems and have outlined what obstacles Apple has been working to overcome. “As time goes on, these harmonic waves condense and become very strong signals in the air. This may be so dangerous that the pacemaker in a sick person can stop the subject of the charger near him, especially if the level of the waves is too high. Or this could lead to a shortening of the hearing service of another person . ” If Apple’s multi-coil model releases right and left harmonic bands, AirPower probably will not be able to pass US or EU regulations.
Part of what is surprising about AirPower’s cancellation is that the decision was at the last minute, directly on the cusp of the AirPods version 2. Some experts speculated that Apple had an AirPower charger working in its labs where they explained that the initial step was to make the device work and then find a solution for interference Electromagnetic fields.
But AirPower did not achieve the required, if the AirPower is not working in the supposed way, why should it be located mainly? Apple deserves some gratitude for that. The FCC rules for wireless chargers such as AirPower are very strict, exposing maximum exposure to 20 cm waves at the top of the device and spreading up to 50 MW / cm².
Rumors have been circulating for months about AirPower’s excessive heat problems, which are well in line with this explanation. In order to charge multiple devices for a wide range of coil, they need a great deal of energy.
“Overheating means putting a lot of power in the charger, which means trying to raise the power level,” says William Lumbkins, vice president of engineering at O & S. “I think Apple’s attempt to put a lot of coil and its resulting waves is the main reason why To the temperature of the charger “.
“There’s something about the multi-coil design where the temperature is getting hotter and hotter. Some engineers have seen the AirPower design and said it’s impossible to ever work, especially thermally. Now that the product has been canceled, That they can find a solution to the problem of high temperature, and they seem to have been so obviously wrong that they either have to return completely to the design board and start over with a completely different design or decide to surrender and do not want to admit it. “
Apple confined itself to the electromagnetic field, what they wanted to do was actually possible – and certainly worked on it in the lab – but could not meet the stringent transmission requirements that were designed to keep us safe from gadgets.
What if the product is issued instead of canceled?
If AirPower comes into the market with these problems, it will certainly negatively affect the company’s reputation and share more than a decision to cancel it altogether. After two years of suspense and ridicule on websites, AirPower built a negative aura before anyone had a chance to put his phone on top of it. It is not as if Apple needs to get rid of wireless charging research it has done in developing AirPower because it bought a New Zealand-based PowerbyProxi power carrier in 2017, giving Apple the impression that the future of the technology will be wireless.
It may be that the AirPower waiting period is over; but for Apple, a new era of apologies may have begun, and the company may revive this product later, sometime in the future when technology is there to make the company’s vision possible. Do not be named AirPower +. But for the time being, if you want a wireless charger right now, the various shopping sites are packed, so Apple’s decision did not deprive anyone of cable-free wireless charges or you just have to buy a standard charger compatible with your iPhone.