AirPower may be dead (or, possibly, just sleeping), but Apple might have another wireless charger in the works. 9to5Mac has been sent a video which purports to show a prototype for a wireless charger designed specifically for the upcoming iPhone 12 family of smartphones.
You might be thinking that this looks like plenty of other wireless chargers on the market, and you’d be right. However, it has a trick up its sleeve that should make it a good accompaniment to the upcoming iPhone 12: it’s magnetic.
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That, combined with its disk-like shape, means it’ll be a perfect match for the iPhone 12, which reportedly will feature a matching circular magnetic coil for wireless charging. In other words, there won’t be any mucking about with trying to get the iPhone to correctly line up with the wireless charger: instead, this puck will likely just snap to the back of the handset and start charging.
Video claims to show Apple magnetic wireless charger prototype. More at @9to5mac pic.twitter.com/BDReuIIW4CSeptember 17, 2020
It’s not obvious if this disk fits into a larger charging mat, which the iPhone would snap to, or if it’s just a standalone module. And, as 9to5Mac points out, the charger may be a development unit designed for third-party accessory manufacturers to make their own charging devices. Either way, if it’s legitimate, it’s clearly some kind of prototype, so don’t be alarmed that it lacks the usual Apple pizazz.
Apple’s iPhones have had wireless charging since 2017, and the company is yet to make its own first-party wireless charging equipment. The best wireless chargers are made by the likes of mophie, Logitech and Belkin.
AirPower — a charging mat that would allow up to three devices to charge when placed anywhere upon it — was announced alongside the iPhone X, but then wasn’t heard from again until Apple admitted it wasn’t going to happen last year. Although the company was typically vague about the reasons, sources close to the company revealed that performance and heat management issues were the cause of its downfall.
AirPower may return in some form, and indeed one rumor suggested it would launch alongside the iPhone 12 in a few weeks. Unless this prototype is actually somehow part of the new-look mat, that now seems unlikely, but we shall see. We’re expecting to see the next line of iPhones launched next month, so watch this space.