Apple AirPower is dead, but these alternatives are probably better anyway
For a fraction of the price of Apple's just-canceled charging mat, you can put wireless chargers everywhere.
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Um... just keep using all the chargers we've been using for the past couple years? See, I was never excited about the AirPower because I didn't see the need. Qi pads and docks come in all shapes and sizes, and many of them are super-inexpensive.
Indeed, although Apple never officially announced a price, most guesses put it at around $150. For that price, you could literally buy at least six or seven good third-party Qi pads -- more if you don't care about a recognizable brand.
You might prefer an "easel stand," which makes sure your phone always aligns perfectly with the charging coils and simplifies Face ID unlocking. This popular Anker Qi stand currently runs $20, though it frequently goes on sale for $16-$17. It supports fast charging, too. (Pictured above -- at least one CNETer has used and liked this model for the bedstand and the office.)
So, think about it: One pad for your nightstand, one for your desk, maybe even one for the kitchen or end table, and you're still nowhere near the cost of a single AirPower.
That takes care of your
; what about your
? First things first: You may not want a lay-flat pad for that, because if you have any kind of looping watch band (metal, Milanese Loop, etc.), it simply won't work.
Me, I took my existing Apple Watch charging disk and put it onto an inexpensive stand, which works perfectly regardless of the kind of band I'm using. It also angles my watch up and forward so I can actually see it while it's charging.
Need an extra charging disk for, say, travel? Those run about $15; just hit up Amazon and you'll find plenty of them.
Finally, let's talk
. The first-gen version didn't even support wireless charging, so we didn't need AirPower for that anyway. Now there's an optional wireless case (for both the AirPods and AirPods 2), but guess what? It employs the same standard Qi technology as the iPhone, so you can plunk it down on any compatible charging pad.
Still want an all-in-one solution? Nomad's stylish, aircraft-aluminum Base Station Apple Watch Edition has room for an iPhone, AirPods and an Apple Watch. It's $139.95, and it's currently backordered until the end of April.