AirUnleashed Wireless Charging Mat: An Attempt at an Apple AirPowerby Anton Shilov on May 2, 2019 12:00 PM EST
When Apple cancelled its AirPower wireless charging mat earlier this year, many users of the company’s latest devices got upset, yet spawned a number of third-party options that offer similar functionality. One of such products is the AirUnleashed wireless charging mat that looks like Apple’s AirPower and can charge up to three Qi devices simultaneously. There is a catch, of course.
Unlike Apple’s AirPower (which reportedly used up to 32 overlapping charging coils), the AirUnleashed relies only on three coils that can deliver up to 15.3 W of power to three devices: an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and an Airpods headset. Many overlapping coils enabled Apple to build a wireless charging mat that could charge up to three gadgets simultaneously wherever they are placed on its surface. By contrast, the AirUnleashed requires Apple Watch to be placed on a designated location.
The manufacturer of the wireless charging mat, which is also called AirUnleashed, says that the device works like a regular wireless charger: the mat stops charging devices when they are full. Meanwhile the mat requires at least a QC 2.0-compatible charger, so it is not compatible with Apple’s default 5W iPhone adapter and needs an iPad adapter.
As for physical characteristics, the AirUnleashed measures 188×105×12 mm and has a white leather finish.
The AirUnleashed is currently available directly from the company for $99.
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yankeeDDL - Thursday, May 2, 2019 - linkMillion dollar question: what was the "insurmountably" obstacle met by Apple that led to the cancellation of the charging mat? And how is it related to this one?
In other words: is this mat "flawed" enough, that wouldn't have met Apple's expectations, or is AirUnleashed smarter than Apple?
ksec - Thursday, May 2, 2019 - linkIt is right there in the article.
>Unlike Apple’s AirPower (which reportedly used up to 32 overlapping charging coils), the AirUnleashed relies only on three coils that can deliver up to 15.3 W of power to three devices: an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and an Airpods headset. Many overlapping coils enabled Apple to build a wireless charging mat that could charge up to three gadgets simultaneously wherever they are placed on its surface. By contrast, the AirUnleashed requires Apple Watch to be placed on a designated location.
yankeeDDL - Thursday, May 2, 2019 - linkMy point is: why was using 3 coils (or, 32) not good enough for Apple? Did they really cancel a product that they already had announced (and followed up on the announcement) only because of the positioning?
I have a simple, single-coil charger: I hardly need to place my Samsung S8 precisely over it, and before that, more than 5 years back, I did not have to do it even with the Nexus 5. I don't see the issue. But then again, I don't work at Apple. I guess I'm wondering why something that looks quite useful and practical, was deemed so bad, that Apple offers no alternative for it, while many 3rd party seem to offer it just fine. Where's the catch with this device?
LtGoonRush - Thursday, May 2, 2019 - linkApple wanted to offer a mat that could charge different types of devices by placing them anywhere on the mat. This is a mat that can charge different types of devices them by placing them on specific coils designated for the type of device. It's basically separate pads for a phone, watch, and headphones all side-by-side. Apple's solution was much more elegant but turned out to not actually work.
LoLo2207 - Thursday, May 2, 2019 - linkI read that the main problem was that Apple's one overheated.
Guspaz - Friday, May 3, 2019 - linkI’m sure it worked perfectly fine right up until it ovearheated. It’s too bad it didn’t work out, it would have addressed one of the main downsides of Qi, where devices charge much slower or not at all if they’re not placed precisely.
I’d imagine the difficulty had to do with the fact that with that many overlapping coils, and considering that the bottommost coil still has to be just a few millimeters from the devices, they couldn’t figure out how to extract the heat from the coils without using metal plates like you normally would. Maybe some sort of sealed submersion cooling coils have worked? Maybe they couldn’t figure out how to make that reliable and thin enough.
zepi - Friday, May 3, 2019 - linkI have one of those single-coil charging mats. For me and my family it is completely useless piece of crap and I don't think I will ever use this kind of chargers.
I much rather use a lightning or USB-C cable than carefully align my phone on top of a charger.
This is a personal preference and I fully understand that other people have different opinions. But having woken up couple of times with empty phone because I was not careful enough on top of the charger, I guess that the current chargers are not near enough "Apple-like" usability to meet their standards of convenience.
BedfordTim - Friday, May 3, 2019 - linkI have several of the cheap Anker ones and they all work without issue. If you place the phone correctly it beeps to confirm it is charging.
Galcobar - Thursday, May 2, 2019 - linkAs stated in the article, the difference is overlapping coils, or lack thereof. So far nobody has figured out how to densely overlap the charging coils without creating an unreasonably thick mat, or without unacceptable efficiency loss/heat generation and electromagnetic interference around the device.
AirUnleashed is just three single-coil mats attached together. Devices will have to be placed precisely upon each coil, as opposed to Apple's idea of anywhere on at mat surface.
Rylan J - Thursday, May 2, 2019 - linkYou don't need overlapping coils with PowerSphyr's technology.