Invisible AirPower prototype reveals secrets of Apple’s canceled charger

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Poor old AirPower. Apple’s triple wireless charging pad was announced with great fanfare in 2017, but turned out to be doomed – the company officially unplugged in 2019, claiming it was unable to respond to its own “high standards” of product design. But two years later, it appears that a prototype version of AirPower has appeared online.

Gulio Zompetti often tweets images and videos of never-before-seen Apple products, and this latest prototype is perhaps the most fascinating to date. While the charging mat lacks AirPower’s signature white design, the shape is unique – and this is the first time we’ve seen the gadget in action. Unfortunately, if you want to wirelessly charge one of the best camera phones, you’ll have to look elsewhere – Apple hasn’t provided its own pad yet.

Zompetti told The Verge he was able to get his hands on the prototype device through Chinese sources of e-waste. It arrived without any type of outer casing, but it allows us to see in great detail what is going on inside – including no less than 22 charging coils.

AirPower prototype

Count coils (Image credit: Giulio Zompetti)

Zompetti’s video shows the device successfully charging a prototype iPhone. He told The Verge that in order for this AirPower prototype to work, it must be paired with “a prototype of special iPhone hardware to activate the coils.” Being an engineering prototype, “it’s not for plug and play.”

Rumors of AirPower’s return have persisted since Apple killed the product in 2019. Last year, Apple leaker Jon Prosser “revealed” that AirPower is returning, with a slightly modified design ( below) who saw the charging cable moved to the side of the pad. It was due to happen in 2020, which, like many Prosser leaks, turned out to be wrong. But with Apple recently winning a patent for another wireless charging mat design, the company may not have given up on AirPower just yet.

Air power mockup

AirPower is rumored to be making a comeback last year (Image credit: Jon Prosser)

It’s always fun to spot rare or never-before-seen Apple products. Zompetti recently shared an original iPad prototype that suggested the tablet might have loaded very differently. But perhaps even rarer than prototype designs, the company’s notoriously detail-oriented flawed products. But it can happen – just look at the misaligned logo on this iPhone 11. If you’re looking for the best iPhone available right now, check out today’s iPhone 12 deals below and head to Apple Sale. Back to School for more offers.

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