Here’s a look at a prototype of Apple’s cancelled AirPower mat
AirPower was announced back in 2017 and was said to be able to wirelessly charge three devices at a time. For anyone who has an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and AirPods, it would have fit into the Apple ecosystem perfectly. However, the company eventually canceled AirPower, citing that it didn’t meet its “high standards”. However, an Apple prototype collector by the name of Giulio Zompetti has managed to purchase what seems to be a prototype of the AirPower mat.
Speaking to The Verge, Giulio Zompetti says he has been able to purchase a prototype AirPower unit specifically from Chinese e-waste sources. “The unit lacks all of its exterior housing, and shows this beautiful and heavy stainless steel chassis,” Zompetti said. Zompetti also shared a video on Twitter, demonstrating that it works.
— Giulio Zompetti (@1nsane_dev) August 5, 2021
“It doesn’t work with production devices, because the coils are woken up by the device,” explained Zompetti, who has been able to charge two prototype devices simultaneously so far. Zompetti says that he received the prototype in December, having been able to activate it with a serial lightning cable.
“It’s an engineering prototype, it’s not meant for plug and play,” Zompetti told The Verge. “When I connected my serial lightning cable to it, I could see some chars on the log, so once I fixed the BAUD rate, I was able to read a comprehensible log.” The AirPower mat even has an interactive shell, due to it being an engineering device.
AirPower’s idea was that you could place wirelessly charging objects on it to charge anywhere on the pad, and you wouldn’t need to find any particular place to charge the device. While it does appear to work according to Zompetti, it never made the light of the day due to alleged issues in production that relate to overheating. Zompetti hasn’t run into any of those but doesn’t rule out the possibility of their existence.
Zompetti has a reputation for collecting old Apple prototype devices and has traveled to engineers to help them repair old prototypes that they may have had on hand. “It’s almost always about finding broken or incomplete units and fixing them to bring them back to life,” Zompetti said. The AirPower mat that he found is “definitely among the best” prototype hardware he’s found so far, he says.
Featured image: AirPower mat photos by Giulio Zompetti