Apple pulls the plug on the wireless charging mat. Apple said Friday it’s canceling the wireless charging mat AirPower that the company announced on the same day as its iPhone X in 2017, a rare public retreat for the gadget maker known for splashy product launches. The mat was intended to charge up to three Apple products wirelessly at once, such as wireless headphones such as iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods.
While wireless charging has spread throughout the gadget industry, it has been challenging to charge three devices simultaneously with higher wattage “fast charging.” For example, furniture seller Ikea sells a $60 matt that can handle three phones but features only slower5-watt charging. Apple said it concluded in a statement that its AirPower mat “will not meet our high standards.”
“We apologize to those customers who looked forward to this launch,” said Dan Riccio, Hardware Engineering Senior Vice President of Apple, in the statement. “We remain convinced that the future is wireless and committed to pushing forward the wireless experience.”
The announcement was a rare move for Apple, known to keep tight wraps on product plans in the electronics industry until it launches them in Silicon Valley at splashy events.
AirPower’s early announcement was a break in that tradition, along with a wirelessly charged version of its AirPods headphones. Last week, Apple released the updated AirPods, increasing speculation that the charging mat that accompanies it would soon come.
Daring Fireball, a website covering Apple’s news, previously reported that Apple engineers had problems on the AirPower pad with devices overheating. Apple declined to comment on the project beyond its statement.
Apple offered wireless charging on the iPhone in 2017, after several years of offering the feature to many of its rivals like Samsung Electronics. While rumors circulated that Apple could create its own unique wireless charging technology, instead, the company chose to use a system that works with Qi, an open industry standard that Samsung and others are already using.
Apple shares have not moved on the news, and shares of NXP Semiconductors and STMicroelectronics, two major suppliers of chips used in Qi systems, have also appeared unaffected.