AirPower to run stripped down version of iOS, now expected to arrive in September

Apple’s AirPower has gotten another more specific release date, this time from a slightly more reliable source, with Bloomberg reporting that the wireless charging mat is now on track for a September release. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also provides some insight into why the release has taken longer than expected — although Apple only said “2018” when AirPower was announced last year, many anticipated the device would be available earlier in 2018, with some reports suggesting March. Gurman notes that although Apple has been quiet about AIrPower, saying basically nothing since the initial announcement, the company has been actively working on the accessory behind the scenes, dealing with challenges such as making sure the charger doesn’t overheat and addressing the complexity of the circuitry. Unlike traditional Qi chargers, the AirPower is designed to charge up to three devices simultaneously, support the Apple Watch, and allow users to place any of their devices anywhere on the charging mat rather than having to aim for a specific spot.

The goal is an ambitious one, and requires that the AirPower include multiple charging sensors and use custom charging technology rather than off-the-shelf Qi charging standards. Even more interestingly, AirPower will include a custom Apple chip that runs a stripped down version of iOS in order to handle all of the on-device power management and pairing tasks — a stark contrast to the basically “dumb” Qi chargers currently on the market. While Apple’s “2018” ship date was intentionally vague, sources say that engineers were hoping to launch the charger by June — likely in time for WWDC — but various technical challenges have held it back, with the goalpost now having been moved to September. Sources still haven’t provided any details on what the pricing for AirPower will be, but the complexity adds further weight to speculation that it will have a premium price tag.

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