Apple's AirPower charging mat has had one of the more eventful timelines in the last few years of tech, especially when you take into account the fact that it's not exactly an obviously groundbreaking bit of kit.
The wireless charger, which in theory was being designed to carry enough power to simultaneously juice up your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods all at the same, to power your Apple ecosystem, was finally killed off almost exactly a year ago.
The word was that Apple simply wasn't finding it possible to make the pad in such a way that it didn't overheat while in use - something that is slightly important when it's charging expensive electronics.
Well, now it would seem that the pad is back on the table. Tech analyst Jon Prosser has had sources confirm to him that the project is still very much underway, and that Apple isn't giving up on its wireless charging dream.
AirPower isn’t dead— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) March 22, 2020
The project is back on, internally. No guarantee that they’ll finalize and release it, but they haven’t given up yet and they’re trying to re-engineer the coils to displace heat more effectively. Prototyping is underway.
Prosser says that prototyping is underway, suggesting that Apple isn't even back to the drawing board - it's more advanced than that.
However, it doesn't sound like you can expect an imminent announcement of AirPower's return. According to followup tweet from Prosser, the new versions are still struggling to charge the Apple Watch, despite working with AirPods and iPhones, meaning that there's still plenty of work for Apple's engineers to do.
Note: None of the current prototypes support Apple Watch - that’s their biggest hurdle right now.— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) March 22, 2020
They refuse to release a version that doesn’t work with Apple Watch.
They’re re-engineering from scratch.
If the AirPower mat does eventually make it to actual users, it will be welcome, to be fair. Large charging mats that work with more than just your smartphone are useful, and can make your bedside table a one-stop shop for charging needs. We'll have to wait to see if Apple can pull it off.