A new AirPower video is out, but is Apple actually reviving its Qi wireless charging mat?

The AirPower Qi wireless charging mat was meant to charge your Apple Watch, iPhone, and AirPods at the same time -- but it never made it to the market.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Screenshot by CNET

A new video shared on X, formerly Twitter, shows an Apple AirPower prototype charging an Apple Watch Series 4 with Qi technology. The AirPower, a Qi wireless charging mat that would have been able to charge an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and a pair of AirPods simultaneously, was originally announced in 2017, but the product never made it to store shelves, and Apple officially canceled it in 2019. So, is this video legit?

Apple reportedly hit issues with the development of the AirPower charging mat. The company reportedly faced technical challenges including figuring out the complex circuitry for multi-device charging and excessive heat issues, even reaching the point of melting devices placed on it, leading Apple to cancel the project, sources said at the time. 

Also: Could the eclipse burn out your iPhone camera? The experts weigh in

The Apple Watch is incompatible with Qi wireless chargers, as it can only be charged with a magnetic disk. Having the ability to charge it anywhere on a wireless charging mat alongside your other devices and not dealing with multiple charging cables would be a great feature. 

The latest video, released by user Apple Demo on X, appears to show a variation of the same old AirPower prototype other users have shared since the project was announced in 2017. The Apple Demo user says in the post that "The Apple Watch on AirPower gets quite warm," confirming the same issues the project reportedly hit during development. 

With 16 coils spread along the mat, the AirPower would allow users to set down their devices anywhere on the mat to begin charging. Apple even showcased that the devices would show a specific animation when placed on the AirPower mat.

Apple doesn't appear to be working on the AirPower wireless charging mat, having since shifted its focus to the MagSafe system for iPhones with the launch of the iPhone 12. MagSafe technology uses an array of magnets around a wireless charging coil on the back of the iPhone that allow snap-on attachment of accessories, like a wireless MagSafe charger, cases, and wallets.

Also: The Journal app makes your iPhone 'Discoverable by Others' by default. How to disable it

While MagSafe is primarily magnetic, it relies on Qi technology for wireless charging. AirPod cases are also compatible with Qi wireless charging.

Apple is reportedly still working on a wireless charging solution for its devices that makes it easier for consumers to charge them in one place, at least according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in 2022. Unfortunately, this solution does still not appear to be the AirPower mat.

Editorial standards