Once upon a time, Apple was a company that wouldn’t announce a new product until it was ready to ship. I still remember how smug Apple bloggers used to be when Apple’s rivals would announce a new smartphone or some other product that wouldn’t ship for a month or so. Those days are long over. Apple now regularly announces products that aren’t ready to be released. What’s more, several of the company’s recent products have been plagued with delays or manufacturing difficulties. In fact, it took Apple about a year to figure out how to build AirPods quickly enough to meet demand. That’s definitely not something that would have happened even a few short years ago.
Apple’s HomePod speaker is another good example. It was announced in June 2017 during Apple’s big WWDC 2017 keynote, and yet it didn’t begin shipping until February 2017, a whopping eight months later. Apple’s silence might have suggested fans would have to wait nearly that long to see Apple’s AirPower wireless charging pad released as well, but it looks like we might not have to wait quite that long to see it hit stores.
Apple unveiled the AirPower wireless charger in September 2017 during its big iPhone event. On one hand, it made sense to announce a wireless charger at an event where Apple introduced its first ever iPhone models to support wireless charging. Of course, it also would’ve made sense to release the charger around the same time as the iPhone 8 in September or at least the iPhone X in November. But alas, it has now been more than six months since Apple’s AirPower announcement and the product still hasn’t shipped.
Two independent reports published recently suggested that the wait for the AirPower pad was finally coming to an end, with a release planned for sometime in late March. Now, a third report can be added to the list. Digitimes on Tuesday reported that Apple will release the AirPower charging accessory by the end of March, which would give the company just over two weeks to get its act together.
“With Apple set to launch its in-house designed wireless charging pad AirPower by the end of March, Taiwan suppliers of glass passivated package (GPP) bridge rectifiers needed to support the device expect their shipments to double in the first quarter of 2018 from a quarter earlier and rise further in the second quarter, according to industry sources,” the Taiwan-based site wrote.
It’s still not clear why it has taken Apple and its manufacturing partners so long to get things in order for the AirPower’s launch. The accessory is somewhat unique, allowing users to wirelessly charge three different devices at once. Most wireless charging pads only have one coil, though there are a number of “wireless triple charger” accessories available now from Chinese accessory makers. While these Chinese chargers are priced far lower than the rumored $199 price point Apple is supposedly planning for the AirPower mat, they also aren’t compatible with the Apple Watch like the AirPower accessory.
Of note, Digitimes makes no mention of release timing for the AirPods wireless charging case that will need to be released before AirPods owners can make use of the AirPower mat.