airpower

AirPower is not a Qi Charger – Here’s What You Can and Can’t Do

airpower

If you’re like me, you’re probably pretty excited about AirPower, the wireless charging mat from Apple.  But aside from providing us a tentative launch date of 2018, we don’t really know much about it.  Many assumed that AirPower was just a regular Qi wireless charger capable of charging the new iPhones, AirPods and Apple Watch simultaneously.  The Apple Watch does support wireless charging, it is not compatible with Qi wireless chargers.  Thus many had believed Apple made some changes to the Apple Watch Series 3, in order to make it compatible with Qi chargers.

But it turns out, that is not the case. While AirPower is a wireless charger, it is not just a regular Qi wireless charger. Instead, Apple has made some of its own improvements to Qi charging standards and incorporated them into AirPower. This means that while you will be able to charge the iPhone 8 or iPhone X via any Qi wireless charger, you will have to use the AirPower or the supplied wireless charger to charge the AirPods and Apple Watch.  This feels like something else Apple has done/created that you have to buy.  I’m usually very pro-Apple when it comes to these things.  Even when they changed the lightning cables.  But I feel like this is going a bit too far.

This is very similar to what Apple has done with the AirPods and its W1 chip.  AirPods will work over Bluetooth, but Apple has made its own proprietary improvements to Bluetooth to further improve their performance.  Apple has proposed the changes that it made to the Qi consortium.  Which means, if accepted, we will see third-party accessory makers able to come up with their own take on AirPower.  If not, then those of us with all three of those devices won’t have much of an option other than buying AirPower in order to charge the devices simultaneously and in one spot.

Do you see anything wrong with the way Apple is approaching this?  On one hand, I can understand why they might want to go this route.  But on the other hand, it feels kind of sneaky.  I mean, you can use any Qi charger to charge your iPhone model 8 or later, but you can’t use it to charge your Apple Watch or your AirPods.  For those you must get a different charger altogether.  Chargers, as it were.  Giving you three different charging devices, in theory, for three different devices.  Which seems kind of excessive.  I get where Apple is going with the AirPower, in that you only need the one charging device for everything.  But it also means that you have to have the latest and greatest of everything.  I, for example, will be upgrading to a new phone this fall.  But I’m still using an older Apple Watch.

If, I want to charge all of my devices at once, I will need to upgrade all of my devices.  And I don’t really like the idea of that.  I like the option to have choice.  Or to be able to decide what I want to do with my devices.  Not necessarily what Apple wants me to do.