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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 Broida Senior 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").
Rick Broida
3 min read
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Is it really a surprise that after such an unprecedented delay, Apple's AirPower charging mat has been officially canceled? Oh, no! What now?

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.

Read more: RIP, AirPower: A brief history of Apple's doomed charging pad

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.


This generic charging pad is Qi-certified -- and $11. Less, if you use a promo code.


One example: This off-brand Qi-certified 10-watt fast-charging pad is $10.99, but for a limited time, promo code 3CUH3MMG drops that price to just $6.99.

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 iPhone ; what about your Apple Watch ? 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.


You supply your stock Apple Watch charging disc; this $9 stand elevates your Watch for easy charging.


Here's one example of such a stand; it's all of $8.95.

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 AirPods . 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.


Nomad's Base Station Apple Watch Edition, due in April, is the latest three-in-one answer to AirPower.

Nomad/Screenshot by CNET

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.

That's OK, because Bestbeing (via Amazon) has this generic three-in-one Apple device charging station for just $30. It has a stand for your phone, a dock for AirPods and a circular base for the Watch.


The real "air power" lies in spending $30 instead of $150.


The only catch: You have to supply your own AC adapter for the included USB-C cable that delivers power to the station. So tack on maybe another $10.

Even then, $40 versus $150? Don't let the door hit you on the way out, AirPower.

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