AirPower is still dead (RIP) but Apple might have an alternative in the works

Rumors point to a new wireless charging pad, although it probably won't be able to charge multiple devices like the AirPower did.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
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Lexy Savvides
2 min read

Apple may be gearing up to release a wireless charging pad to replace the AirPower (RIP). We dive into a report that says this new charging pad could appear in the first half of 2020, potentially alongside the iPhone 9 or iPhone SE 2.

Is the AirPower coming back?  

Considering Apple canceled the project in 2019

, it seems highly unlikely. A report from 9to5Mac quoting analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, however, says Apple may be preparing a smaller wireless charging mat. Rather than charging multiple devices simultaneously like the AirPower promised, this Qi pad would likely charge one device at a time. So that means you could juice up your AirPods or AirPods Pro (in the wireless charging case) and your iPhone , but not both simultaneously.


The AirPower promised to charge three devices at once, wirelessly. It was canceled in 2019.


What remains unclear at the moment is how the Apple Watch , which uses a proprietary magnetic charger, would potentially work with this mystery charging pad. Kuo didn't provide any additional details in the report. Back when the AirPower was still a thing, Apple said it would charge not only iPhones and AirPods on its flat surface, but also the Apple Watch. There's no telling yet how this other smaller charging mat would handle the Watch.

Some third-party AirPower alternatives use a separate holder to charge the Apple Watch, rather than having it lie flat on the mat.

Kuo also expects other Apple products to arrive in the first half of 2020: 

Headphones are an interesting prediction, as Apple already owns Beats, which recently released the Beats Solo Pro. Apple, however, doesn't have its own brand of over-ear line of headphones, as it does with the AirPods earbuds. 

The ultimate iPhone accessory might be a MacBook-like dock


The original PowerBook Duo.


A new patent granted to Apple last week (and first filed in 2017) shows a design for an iPhone and iPad accessory that looks just like a MacBook. The site Patently Apple uncovered diagrams that let you drop a phone or tablet into the housing. You can then use its external keyboard and larger display for an iPhone, or keyboard and touchscreen for an iPad.

This is similar to Razer's Project Linda concept from 2018. Although it never came to market, this 13-inch laptop housing was powered by a Razer phone that slotted in right underneath the keyboard. 

And Apple tried a dockable design decades before that: The PowerBook Duo from 1992 was a laptop you could attach to a variety of different docks.

Realistically, what could a MacBook-style "dock" really be used for? A few weeks ago, we covered rumors about the 2021 iPhone becoming entirely portless. Maybe this new accessory could effectively add those ports back so you could back up the phone when it's docked, or let you attach wired accessories like headphones.

Watch this: The return of AirPower?

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Originally published Feb. 1.