There has to be something that caused this abrupt cancellation.
There has been something very very wrong with products not getting out the door at Apple over the last few years. How does it take years to update a MacPro, a MacMini, an iPhone SE, Airpower never made it out the door, Airpods delayed by half a year, the iPhone - it’s biggest seller is on a 3year refreshment cycle now instead of 2 years, other peripherals like Airport Wifi cancelled and please let’s not even get started about software which was either cancelled (Aperture) or is being outpaced due to slow release cycles.
Apple needs to get a ship / get out the door mentality again!
Good PMs should be servant leaders, doing whatever it takes to ensure their team can have maximum impact and ownership. A big part of that is identifying new opportunities, both within the org and outside of it, and empowering engineers and designers to own what they are working on.
Tech companies need people with very clear product visions that inspire their troops to build something excellent, even when those same troops are having their own opinions overridden by those of the visionary. Those people are usually CEOs and often but not always former engineers themselves. It's very hard to create a coherent, interestingly new product when you can't impose your will on a team because invariably to be new or innovative you must be controversial, and it's hard for non-CEOs to manage that internal controversy.
Creating market hunger - these are all lower volume products for Apple, with no real competition, so I guess they are on a slow updates.
Actually the opposite. Most patent disputes are resolved behind the scenes, long before anyone sues each other.
> To my definition that makes it not a dispute! It's a commercial discussion with an agreement at the end of it.
Patent trolls send thousands of companies demands to pay royalties on a technology they never directly used. Fighting the troll costs hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars, but they are only asking for $50k. Most companies begrudgingly pay. To me, that's still a dispute.
If legalities are to blame it seems like that would be all the more reason to come out and say something along the lines of: "sorry everyone, we want to keep our promise but stupid software patents have made that impossible." Instead they've (to my knowledge—please correct me if I'm wrong) chosen to remain silent and hoped that people would forget.
If it's just "we don't have all the rights, sorry", there is no legal matter to worry about.
why do you assume it was honest? they sold products based upon the impending release of this product, even including it on the packaging of products according to another comment. that was like two years ago? if i remember correctly, it even featured in one of their keynotes.
the excuse "it doesn't meet our standards" sounds like a nice cover for the actual answer.
anyway, i also don't understand their comment that wireless is the "future" for power transfer. i don't see how a significant loss of efficiency where power is just thrown away is the future.
They knew about it then and announced airpods with support for it, on stage...
The rumors are that it didn’t work as advertised, or even at all. Or when it did it could get hot and catch on fire.
I think Occam’s razor applies here.
Basically they might as well have announced things because they were rumors about all of it and if they kept trying to keep it secret for months and months the chances are their partners would end up leaking it purposefully/by mistake.
I remember reading a couple of articles about Bell Labs and how they had a huge cafeteria everyone was encouraged to eat in, thereby promoting cross-communication and "cross-pollination" of ideas and insight. I kinda wonder what the Big Tech companies would be producing now and at what rate if they did that instead of letting or encouraging everyone to sit at their desks all day long (mind you, Google seems to be pretty good about that part.)
Worse than a simple information "spy" would be having a security engineer with intimate knowledge of Apple's security leave the company to co-found a new company whose entire business model is to sell expensive hardware to law enforcement that bypasses Apple's security. Oh right, that actually happened.
An Apple security engineer discovered–or baked in–critical security flaws at one of the world's largest technology companies and instead of disclosing them to the company, co-opted that sensitive insider information to start his own lucrative business. I've been waiting for news of this man's reputation, career, finances, and perhaps even his freedom having been taken away; so far it seems he's gotten away with it. I don't buy the apologist explanation I've heard: "he's likely just so good at his profession that he reverse engineered entirely new vulnerabilities after leaving Apple, without necessarily having exfiltrated knowledge only obtainable from within Apple's own walls".
If this man had done this to a bank or the government, he'd be rotting in federal prison. But he "only" expropriated this information from a private corporation, so no big deal. /s
Remember also that the entire concept of intellectual property is a legal fiction created to prop up revenue streams, as well.
Okay? But that's not what that company does at all.
Well, there is no way of getting 30W wirelessly (to the device side) without a lot of heat.
I guess someone thought they could solve this with smarter power management (and per the John Gruber article this was an issue last year, or even before) but it frankly it does not seem possible (unless Apple discovered room temperature superconductors).
It seems the design teams might have some people (higher ups) thinking too much about design and too little about if things are really possible given the constraints of a consumer product (typical MBA BS motivational pushes asides).
But it seems they managed to save face before another poor product would hit the shelves.
This isn't the first time that sticking to a design led to a technical hardware/physics problem. This happened originally when Steven was designing the iPhone 4 with his team and took out most of the antenna lines, leaving only a small antenna line at the top and not the noticeable ugly antenna lines you see on every single iPhone today. Steven's antenna design was incredibly simple and aesthetically pleasing - just one of several incredible advances of the iPhone 4 - but Steven's antenna design led to some radio frequency problems I definitely don't understand which caused the entire "you're holding it wrong" scandal.
That is just another example from 2011 or so of designers running the company but running into a technical issue with the laws of physics - there it was just radio frequencies instead of whatever it is here with this AirPower and the the heat or frequencies or something created from the as many as possibly 15 or 32 coils inside of it.
There are so so so many examples of where this design-first approach has definitely worked. One example is how the external aluminum case of the 2-pound MacBook from 2015 was designed first, and then once lithium ion batteries were created which had to be custom and have a custom internal chemistry so that they could be stacked on top of each other in a terraced structure. A second example is in Face ID which is very fast and simple conceptually but technically requires a custom chip running a custom neural network and for PrimeSense to miniaturize their Kinect hardware that they created for the Xbox into a the super small menu bar of the iPhone X. The chip team and the PrimeSense team started with a simple concept/design of a user looking at their iPhone, and then filled in all of the extremely technical and multi-disciplinary practicalities.
When you start doing something that nobody has done before, you absolutely do not know that it can work. You will fail in every way – Jonathan mentioned that when they were creating Face ID, all that they had for such a long time were failed engineering designs that simply put did not work.
Nobody knew that you could miniaturize the Kinect hardware, or that this chip could actually run their custom neural network quickly and with low power consumption to get Face ID. But you can. For MacBook batteries, if you mess the chemistry of these batteries up, the batteries will absolutely explode just like Samsung's did the following year. Nobody knew that you could stack the batteries of a MacBook on top of each other either. But you can. Nobody knew that you could remove most of the ugly antenna lines on an iPhone and just place just one antenna line at the top. Oh wait, but you can't. Nobody knew that you could charge 3 devices at the same time within whatever FCC regulations and still maintain low heat. Oh wait, but you can't (I guess, if that's the problem).
The point is that whenever you're doing something that nobody else in the world has done, you can't know it's going to work and you will fail. You will succeed but you will also fail, if you are truly doing creative work. Here, Apple failed. I guess because what they finished in the lab was possible according to the laws of physics but not safe (coils might overheat and catch fire or melt, might explode, might stop a person's pacemaker, and so on).
They could have sold a Wireless Charger just like others with their mark up. Instead we got nothing.
Also admitting MacBook Pro Keyboard Failure. I believe there is something happening to Hardware Engineering in general.
“You’ve worked here all these years and you only just noticed that?”
:) True! But for $10 I'll live with it.
People are weird. But that is fine.
To me, the AirPower mat seems like a really hard thing to make. Qi charging needs concentric coils, but AirPower as a Mat needs a reconfigurable matrix to do what it needs to do.
That is like asking why are people buying lightning connector from Apple where there are cheaper options.
Same reason people buy $1500 plastic Louis Vuitton handbags and belts.
It occurs to me, cases are also like chargers. Nobody questions why apple sells their own USB-C charger even though you could in theory use a generic USB-C charger.
Made in China
disclaimer: always in a hurry... girlfriend getting out of the train in 35 minutes and I have to drive to get there.
FWIW there are many Bluetooth headphones that show their charge on your phone, it's a standard Bluetooth feature.
You've got to be kidding. The kind of pairing made possible by Apple's W1 chip, and the completely cordless design, was absolutely and undeniably groundbreaking when the AirPods were first released. Even now you'd be hardpressed to find a pair of earphones that work as smoothly and seamlessly as AirPods do.
The iCloud pairing and tap-controls are nice, but I guess I could live without them.
Samsung just released Wireless PowerShare as a feature in the S10 that allows you to share a charge and reports note this will be coming to the iPhone.
Incidentally and FML ... I was filmed pitching this idea to Intel and Mark Burnett (reality tv mega-producer) for the reality tv show, America's Greatest Makers. They reached out to me as they really needed fledging inventors. Overall we pitched sharing battery power between two phone cases https://ryanspahn.com/GetLeech .
I haven't looked but if Intel has patents that are from Sept 2015 and on then really FML. Otherwise what I thought was potentially a completely unique idea wasn't.
>> Specifically, I’ve heard that they ran too hot because the 3D charging coils in close proximity to one another required very, very cautious power management.
Is it lack of satisfaction with those tradeoffs? Is there a more fundamental flaw somewhere else? It would be nice to know what actually caused this decision.
Maybe it was capable of charging the watch and the AirPods just fine, it was the phone’s power demands that were the thing killing it.
Worth the huge premium it would've sold for? Probably not for a good deal of people, but it would've sold.
I thought you might be able to use a 2D array of small loops but a little bit of modeling shows that to be a pretty dumb idea.
TBH I don’t find wireless charging today a particularly big win. It’s a bit easier than plugging in a cable. Of course, in the watch, it eliminates a port which is a win for other reasons.
I l suspect that Apple has so little in house experience with moving parts these days that they’d have a hard time shipping a good one that worked this way.
From a first principles point of view it seems to me like it might just work.
AirPower was intended to have basically an entire surface of charging pixels. You could place phones, watches, AirPods, and combos of those on the mat in any orientation. There was also no sweetspot.
By attemping to make inductive charging mats work really well, Apple ran into some big tech contraints.
AirPower is a feature that helps sell those AirPods amongst early adopters who would buy AirPods within the first couple of weeks.
If you want to kill AirPower, waiting a bit to grab those sales makes sense. You don’t have much to lose and revenue to gain.
I'm imagining some engineering teem at Apple telling their bosses "yeah, it's almost ready" and the bosses believing them without really caring, because it's just a silly accessory and no big deal, right? And then since the AirPods 2 announcemen, the internet has been rabid with anticipation for AirPower. announcing it is cancelled is a better PR move than letting that internet fanboy frenzy turn into frustration with delays.
I wouldn't be surprised if we see AirPower turn up again in a years time.
Apple is the tech marketing messiah, why would they announce AirPower at a major product demo and think that it somehow wouldn't be hyped? This is a really strange fumble for them.
It was also listed as a major feature for the new AirPods, that doesn't seem like something Apple would slap on a box knowing they probably weren't going to ship, especially if was a "silly accessory."
I can totally see an engineering team BSing leadership on the product readiness, but there had to be internal pressure on this. Apple knows this looks bad after investors weren't super impressed with the News+ demo.
Your right though, their main problem was announcing it too early. There are probably legal ramifications to this.
Back in the day "intelivision" announced a keyboard component for their console in ads. They didn't ship.. It kept slipping. Then the FTC (government) started fining them for false advertising. So they finally released one (It was junk, we had one).
"Complaints from consumers who had chosen to buy the Intellivision specifically on the promise of a "coming soon" personal-computer upgrade, eventually caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who started investigating Mattel Electronics for fraud and false advertising. "
If they end up releasing the product, say, a year from now, nobody’s going to say “but you cancelled it before!!! how dare you!!”
However, good for Apple.
They need to be more willing to say this product isn't good enough, and stop listening to those who say they are too secretive.
They had a good thing going when they didn't comment on products under development (or even acknowledge that they were under development) until they were ready to ship them.
Versus say Google who'll just never mention it again or launch a broken version only to kill it off within two years.
I suspect you just know what you want, and why you want it, and are extrapolating from that to everyone else.
They try being ahead of the curve and are know to ignore market interest. Sometimes they get a hit, sometimes they fail.
And Mexico will pay for it
Don't trust a companies words at face value. This sounds like PR.
Wasnt profitable enough?
This product cancellation and Apple's general product quality decline is the inevitable result of this short-sighted, penny-wise, pound-foolish strategy to keep payroll down.
Just as a thought experiment ask yourself - of the apps you use daily on your iPhone, how many are made by Apple, other than Safari?
I use all of those regularly and they work well. I also use 3rd party apps for some of the same categories.
I use maps for routing, but google maps for search and points of interest
I spent sometime working on a hardware team at Amazon and we had an expression "hardware is like fruit" meaning the longer it sits unsold, the more stale and obsolete it gets (and it costs an unbelievable amount of money to keep it in storage). A few weeks/months ago, Apple must have decided that AirPower isn't going to happen, and that the AirPods that have been sitting in storage since September need to be sold so that they can actually sell their inventory before the launch of AirPods 3 (whenever that arrives)
The 2016 MBP which had a 500+ day update cycle was apparently supposed to have the terraced battery used in MacBooks. 
That got chucked last minute and led to a lot of battery complaints early on. I returned a loaded 13” due to limited battery life.
The company ended up working SW systems to squeeze more out of what it has and it seemed to work.
In that case they also seemed to be trying to meet a holiday release.
I can’t find it now. But Apple even had a press release that they were changing to a glass screen.
Is the point just for arbitrary positionability on a flat charging surface?
If so, I feel like there are simpler ways to solve that, just with clever solid-state connector design.
Imagine a BGA processor that could be arbitrarily aligned into a BGA socket (not only rotated, but placed anywhere onto a BGA array larger than the CPU), and would continue working. That's possible, no? It doesn't exist, but it's possible. You could have the motherboard look for known sense pins on the processor by putting its own BGA pins into a sense mode; and then, having found which pins the processor is aligned to, it could "hook up" the rest of the pins appropriately. Any pins the CPU isn't touching would remain powered down or in a low-voltage sense mode, where they're safe to touch.
Well, if you can imagine that, then just reduce the number of pads on the device side from hundreds to two, while keeping all the pads on the socket side. But lose the "socket" part.
Imagine a charger that's just a big flat matrix of tiny copper pads, where each copper pad is actually four quadrants: two for sense, one for power, one for ground. The power and ground are normally powered down.
If you have a device (a phone, say) with two large flat charging pads on the back, and you lay it onto the BGA matrix—then the phone's pads will activate (a number of!) the charger's sense pads; the charger will have an "image" of which pins to power, and discretize that image into two clusters (like discretizing touch-points on a digitizer); and then one cluster of activated sense-pins will have their sibling power pins activated; and the other cluster will have their sibling ground pins activated.
Other than the copper being exposed to the elements, I don't see why this isn't workable.
(And before you say "my phone is in a case"—your case would just need a pair of pass-through conductor pads.)
Solved for decades. Gold-plated stops corrosion and resists contamination of most any sort.
But once I got used to it, it was subtly very nice. No fiddling with cables at all. Nothing to wear out. Pick the phone up and go.
It feels a little like a technology of ten or twenty years from now that is not technically necessary but will be nice & convenient. Think of WiFi compared to Ethernet. Right now we can see the future & taste it just a little, but we haven't quite got there yet.
Lemme know when we construct additional pylons and can charge things remotely (without cancer).
Yes, if you're a hardcore user who is on the phone for hours at a time, or are always moving out and about, then this isn't for you.
As an analogy it's like slow charging an electric car at home. If I'm using 100 miles a day, then I'd have to visit a faster charging station at some point. But if I do not drive more than 20 miles a day, I have the convenience of being able to just charge it at home without going out of my way to a charging station.
I'm sure it charges more slowly than with no case, but it does what I need.
If you did it through transistors, somehow, then you'd end up with a lot of loss at each transistor. Too few and you don't make a good field. Too many and the losses would be really high. The cost would be crazy as well. For the transistor approach, I don't know, maybe a big silicon wafer? Maybe just a load of transistors and wires. Who knows.
EDIT: Several people are responding that other manufactures make wireless chargers, so what is the big deal? Sure, you are right other options exist. There are also a wide variety of USB-C laptop chargers available that could charge your Macbook. There would still be plenty of complaints if Apple stopped selling their USB-C power brick. Two of the primary reasons people buy Apple products are because of the ecosystem and their standard of quality. Now people are forced out of the Apple ecosystem and must buy a product from 3rd parties that don't have the same quality requirements. What happens when that $5 Qi charge from some noname brand fries your devices battery?
That is unless they were trying to make it look sudden, but I don't think we have good enough reason to be that cynical about it.
There's a good chance that we'll see this somewhat proven in that Apple will probably get that box discontinued within the next couple weeks.
It does seem like this is the very latest date such an announcement could have been made, though.
Not sure about the rest of the world, but I would say that the US is an outlier when it comes to return policies.
But unless we really tighten up the standards for clothing sizes I don't see how you could sell them online without half of them not fitting. Especially with woman's clothes, where form fit is more important and manufacturers seem to take more liberty with labeling sizes.
A return period is even mandated by law in most advanced countries by consumer protection laws. The length varies and sometimes there are some exceptions like software and customized (engraved products).
> Many retailers, as part of their business models, allow returns if customers change their minds or receive unwanted items as gifts. While many retailers have decided this makes for the best business practice, they aren't legally required to accept returns. Rather, retailers are required to accept returns only if the sold good is defective or if they otherwise break the sales contract. 
Returning used anything in US is cultural courtesy.
Returning in EU is mandated by law, but for online purchases only and unused products, with hygienic exclusions - the purpose being giving you the same chance as in a brick store to see the product. Opening the box, returning, sure. Using for a week, putting it in your ears, then returning, nope.
Apple Store policy varies by country slightly, but generally they allow 14 days unconditional return. That’s rather unique, and entirely voluntary, and Apple Premium Resellers rarely (never around here) have the same policy.
In many parts of the world there are consumer rights which guarantees the ability to return items even if opened.
I fully accept that maybe my other chargers were cheap and crappy though, so maybe I'm just unlucky.
Additionally your edit doesn’t hold because apple sells iPhones without an official wireless charger either. The AirPods can also be charged with a wire, not to mention any compatible qi charger.
If you’re going to call out apple for making the charging standard based on USB power delivery (an open standard), well then I think you’ve lost everyone. The whole point of Qi, and USB PD is that you can use any charger, even non Apple ones.
I'd have a hard time arguing that the AirPods are defective because the non-bundled mat on the box didn't ship.
Unlimited returns for any reason at every store is quite an American thing.
Hong Kong probably does not allow it for other reasons. Maybe the policy gets exceptionally abused there.
AirPower was supposed to be that official wireless charger. So is your argument that my point doesn't matter because cancelling AirPower is actually worse than I initially mentioned? Either way, the new AirPods are a little different than iPhones. The primary difference between AirPods 1 and AirPods 2 was the wireless charging. The wireless charging was never the top-line feature of any new iPhones.
>If you’re going to call out apple for making the charging standard based on USB power delivery
That is not why I am calling Apple out. I am calling them out because they are refusing to offer a first party solution for a product's primary feature and "it is just an open standard" is not a valid excuse for that fact.
Yeah, but how many people are actually going to go through the hassle of returning them?
And then I said, meh, I'll buy some when I see the announcement for AirPower, given the problems they've obviously had bringing to market. How many others are less skeptical than me, I do not know. But for the time being, I'm content to plug my stuff in if I still have to use separate mats for phone and headphones.
Nomad has a new Base Station that can change multiple Qi devices plus an Apple Watch as well.
Basically at this point there are a lot of alternatives on the market, and some of them are actually nicer because they hold the Watch up in the right orientation for Nightstand mode and work with loop style bands.
We should applaud that. That's how things should work.
You could argue that after three models with butterfly keyboards, it's pretty purposeful. It's not like no one pointed it out to them.
There definitely isn't the same level of complains on the internet about it.
If my (non-Apple) laptop is anything to go by, the keyboards with that crappy low-rise design have average life expectancy of one year. The 2018 modification will not get clogged with dust until the end of 2019, at which point people will be complaining about it too.
There's 35,000 signatures on a petition to recall the keyboards. There's two class-action lawsuits. There's how many different online writings about the issue?
Not sure if that's true or not, but wouldn't a lot of people have complained about that too, had they malfunctioned, or even been used, a la Macbooks?
What exactly is wrong with them ?
Apple has extended the warranty on the keyboard to four years, but it's not like they will actually give you a working keyboard design, but rather switch out the keyboard for the same design.
They're also being sued for the keyboard issues.
But those issues were fixed in the 2018 one. Which is why they haven't needed to extend the warranty at all.
Joanna Stern's article was about her 2018 MacBook Air's keyboard, which has the same membrane as the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard.
So it's no longer your belief that the 2017 model was significantly better than the 2016 version? Or was it significantly better, but still shit? In one or two years will the 2018 version in turn be considered significantly better but still shit?
I won’t be touching the 2018 one until I see reports of people that have had them for over a year. It sounds like based on the new WSJ reporting, the 2018 has problems too though.
They were probably more concerned about negative headlines and media coverage leading up to the event when choosing to reveal this information a week after.
Slimey? Really? Slimey is opening a factory along side a river and then dumping the waste chemicals in the river while touting the number of jobs added to the local economy.
In Apple's case, they announced a product early, turns out they couldn't deliver on it. No harm, no foul... okay maybe reputational foul, but nothing of real consequence.
The lather the Apple tech pundit crowd has worked itself up over the Airpower nonsense (you can't call it anything more than that at this point) is bewildering. If Apple would have delivered I probably would have bought it, my stuff still charges the legacy way, I'll probably buy more Apple stuff in the future, the world moves on.
Then, on a whim when I ordered my Pixel 3, I put the stand in my cart. I didn't even realize it was wireless. I just like the nice look of a well-thought-out phone stand, and the feel of it in the dark when I read myself to sleep.
I then remembered that I replaced my old Pixel because the port had problems. Less wear on the ports is important.
Wireless is a huge deal for devices that require frequent charging.
I’ve warmed significantly to wireless charging just because of that, and the lowered charging speed wouldn’t be a problem since I could leave devices overnight on the AirPower mat. I was especially excited about the proposed design of AirPower because precise placement wasn’t needed. I could easily imagine that making it much more handy than precisely aligning everything in the dark when putting away my iPad.
I won’t argue with that, I just can’t square the lack of “Apple branded” wireless charging as a pain point.
Saying "hey, buy the new version of AirPods at a $50 premium because it's compatible with this new thing that's about to come out" and then fumbling on that product you just marketed to drive sales of AirPods isn't kosher.
Contrary to your point:
A. They announced the cancellation a week later, you still have time to return your AirPods 2.
B. If they had gone with substandard product, then you will still complain, why didn't Apple cancel this product a long time ago!? Why did they release this piece of shit? We will have #AirPowerGate storm on Twitter, armchair specialists would start analyzing and delivering nasty analysis about Apple, Louis Rossman would make a new angry video, etc... Jeez guys.
See, Apple is in a no-win situation here. No matter what they do, people complain obsessively without understanding and putting yourself in their shoes.
Things go wrong sometimes after announcing a product.
> that could be fraud
No, it is certainly not.
It’s not that common, except today’s Apple and, well, Tesla, to announce early and be very late delivering.
It’s a solid spec bump to a product. Not a huge leap (which is there is no 2 in the name) but it’s not like they were ONLY going to work with the AirPower and had no other new features.
No reason to cancel them.
Apple isn't the only one. While I agree that announcing a product and not delivering is a bad thing - shit happens, especially here where the engineering team busted balls for months to correct and issue and they couldn't resolve it.
Sometimes, it is safety or regulatory failure. There are many reasons why a product can't make it to the market.
Qi has been out a long time. Is there any indication whatsoever that Qi spec devices are doing this?
Of all the examples you could give, I actually think just about nobody would care about the USB-C power brick. To be honest, its kind of stupid already to buy a first party charger. It';s throwing $50+ into the wind.
The bricks are reconfigurable to use different outputs and different inputs, and the cables roll up neatly with the help of a simple hook and loop cable tie.
Sure one could then find reputable vendors, the Apple ecosystem has quite a few but most people would more than likely get the cheapest one from Amazon and sadly some of those products carry some serious safety risks.
I like that Apple has their own offering which one can feel confident in using. It is also nice to see that they will walk away from a design such as AirPower if they realize they cannot ship it to the standard which should be required for power delivery. At it’s base such a product should at least be easy to use and safe.
I have other (single-device, of course) charging pads and they work great, so it isn't a big deal.
Me personally, I've built up a mental "queue" of things that need to line up before I invest in a 1) new phone (that supports wireless charging, 2) an Apple Watch, and 3) AirPods (the new ones). And all of those I planned on getting around the time of AirPower. Now that it's been nixed? I mean, I still dig the Watch but I'll probably keep my current phone and headphones for years, at least while they all still work just fine.
Pretty bummed for the people that got them expecting AirPower, though.
This isn't the first time that Apple have decided that ecosystem didn't matter - some of the USB-C dongles (the Ethernet adapter for one) that Apple sell are branded Belkin, they ceded the Thunderbolt display to LG (that LG really Just Worked ) and they've abandoned Airport.
I did. I don't want to add another cable to my nightstand, I wanted to replace my Apple Watch puck with Airpower and gain the ability to charge my headphones there too, and then if I ever get a wireless charging iPhone be able to get rid of the lightning cable as well. I don't mind trading the lightning cable between my phone and Airpods, but I imagined I wouldn't have to for long with the AirPower releasing seeming so imminent.
I feel like a sucker today.
I don't have this version, but I have their other base station that charges up to 4 devices at once: 2 wirelessly, and 2 via cables. I'm extremely happy with it.
This feature was planned and advertised. People buy based on these things. I'd love a Apple wireless charging mat. I also like their Watch. Charging the lot of them would maybe move me from Android. Oh no! It's disappeared. Steve Jobs would never have put up with this.
My impression of what AirPower was supposed to do was allow me to just throw my shit on the nightstand charging mat and the phone, watch, and earphones just magically charge without fiddling. Not being a hardware engineer, my impression was also that, in order to pull this off, involved big, hot coils and Apple couldn't get rid of the "hot" part.
So now the solution is to buy separate Qi pads for phone and earphone case, and I still need a proprietary charger for the Watch because it doesn't use Qi. Or just say "fuck it", and plug my phone and old AirPods case into the Lightning connectors I already have by the bed, and use the Apple Watch charging stand I already bought.
In summary, I'm one of those that would have spent the $200 on Apple kit if they could have pulled it off because I don't find Qi to be quite the solution I was looking for.
But perhaps that's exactly why it's a stand and not a mat - there are only so many ways to put a phone on it such that it stays there.
I've got a few of these for my old s8 and s10 and they work great. Only downside I can think of is when my battery is low and I need to keep taking the phone off the charger to respond to something, at that point I just cable it in so I can use it and charge at the same time. It's also of course not as fast as cabled fast charging so if I'm very low I'll cable it.
That's not incredibly frequent but does come up every few weeks.
I love them at my desks but I use cables everywhere else as I'm usually grabbing my phone to use it (like in bed).
What Apple was doing that was hard, was to charge multiple devices at a time on a single pad without having set locations.
I also own another that has a completely smooth surface and my phone tends to slide off.