back to article Apple redesigns wireless AirPower charger to be world's smallest, thinnest, lightest, cheapest, invisible... OK, it doesn't exist anymore

Apple's latest foray into wireless charging has ended with the cancellation of the AirPower, the white disc that was supposed to be able to power multiple iThings simultaneously. Two years ago, Apple acquired a New Zealand-based startup called PowerbyProxi as it prepared to develop the AirPower for its various devices. On …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can anyone think of any piece of software that's getting better? All software seems to be getting worse and worse, not just Apple's.

    1. Jonathon Green
      Boffin

      It’s not so much that software quality is getting worse...

      ...so much as it is that there’s a lot more of it in a given product, and it’s interacting with other software in so many new and interesting ways allowing the same old bugs to manifest in so many new and exciting ways!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It’s not so much that software quality is getting worse...

        And they are trying to get these new features out before the others do, thus do less rigorous testing. With a we will patch it in another release mentality.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Can anyone think of any piece of software that's getting better?

      Anything written by me that has been passed to a proper developer to finish.

    3. rsole

      I could say that as long as features don't keep gettng added, all the software I work on is getting better as I remove those bugs.

      Well here's some open source software that is definately getting better.

      https://indilib.org/

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Can anyone think of any piece of software that's getting better?

      I keep making my software better.

      Unfortunately it has now been a few years since a release, due to so many aspects that I have not yet made completely perfect.

      (Anon because I am not even slightly joking.)

    5. MrBanana
      FAIL

      Er,... this was a hardware problem, not a software issue.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In this case, the Qi standard is about as good as you are going to get as it's pretty much at the limits that Maxwell's Equations allow. Anything Apple could do as far as wireless charging goes would just be cosmetic & PR. Oh, wait...

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        What Apple really wanted to do was what they normally do with standards: add a couple of bits to make it proprietary (DBLA -> AirPlay) and licence it to accessory makers but they were just too late to the game for wireless charging. No doubt they'll still earn a tidy some from companies wanting to stick something like designed for I-Phone™ on the box

    7. Flywheel Silver badge

      "Move quickly and break things....

      HEY! DON'T FORGET TO FIX WHAT YA BROKE!!!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Covering Apple now, are we?

    What's next, Gucci? Stick to technology, it's what you're best at.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Covering Apple now, are we?

      Technology? They outsource all of that.

      Apple's forté is marketing. It's enlightening that even they couldn't market their way out of this one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Covering Apple now, are we?

        "even [Apple] couldn't market their way out of this one."

        Ye canna change the laws of physics, cap'n.

        Or (from a slightly more definitive source):

        "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." (R.P. Feynman, RIP. Look it up.)

        It's all been said and done before, and *some* people have learned lessons.

        The faithful of the Church of Apple might be in the process of (re)learning this one.

      2. macjules Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Covering Apple now, are we?

        Apple's forté is marketing

        I think Apple's "forté" is moving huge piles of cash from one reserve account to another.

        That strange noise you can hear is the sound of Steve Jobs spinning in his grave ...

        1. Tomato Krill

          Re: Covering Apple now, are we?

          Well - I think fortë is Italian for loud, not strength...

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Covering Apple now, are we?

            No, it is Italian for strong*. To play something fortë is meant in the sense of "use your strength while playing", which results in a louder sound.

            *Source (Italian): https://it.wiktionary.org/wiki/forte

            1. LDS Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: Covering Apple now, are we?

              In Italian 'forte' is written with a plain, simple 'e', no stress, no dieresis, etc. It can mean both strong and loud, .i.e. 'parla più forte' 'speak louder', 'la musica è troppo forte' 'the music is too loud'

              1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Covering Apple now, are we?

                No no no, I was obviously talking about Forté Agent...

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Covering Apple now, are we?

          "That strange noise you can hear is the sound of Steve Jobs spinning in his grave"

          Someone should attach a generator to him. And patent it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 13 people.

      Don't get a joke. XD

  3. 45RPM

    Kudos to Apple…

    …for admitting that AirPower was rubbish and abandoning it - many companies might have pressed on and sold it anyway. But…

    …a slap around the face with a big fat wet fish for preannouncing the product. Don’t do it again, you muppets!

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Kudos to Apple…

      Please don't insult muppets.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Kudos to Apple…

        It seems that Apple wanted to sell a product - a pad that simultaneously charged a phone, watchband earbuds - that nobody else could make. This convenience would have been its unique selling point, and without that most users would be just as well served by a 3rd party Qi charging mat by Belkin, Logitech, Samsung, Xiaomi etc al, and there would be no room for Apple to put a good margin on the price tag.

        The very difficulty that would have given Apple a USP has proved in fact to have prevented Apple from achieving it.

        The announcement of the pad was premature but this is hardly unprecedented... it was touch and go that the first iPhone Steve Jobs announced on stage would get through the presentation without crashing. He took a punt that the bugs would be ironed out between the announcement and the release date, and the punt paid off.

        Apple must have had a few teams working on wireless charging. They were late to join the Qi standard party because they had been attempting to create a better system (i.e, charging over a greater distance) and had failed.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Kudos to Apple…

          Doesn't Samsung's S10 charger let you charge multiple devices at once, if you must? I think all buds without some kind of cord are a design fail and usually have too short a battery life for most practical use.

          1. snozdop

            Re: Kudos to Apple…

            It's not the multiple devices part that is hard, it is the ability to put the devices *anywhere* on the mat to charge, rather than on fixed sweet-spots like existing multi-device wireless chargers.

            Existing multi-device chargers just have 2 or 3 coils in fixed places inside. Apple's design had 15 or 30 overlapping coils so you could place the devices anywhere,

      2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Kudos to Apple…

        Apple customers' wallets get violated more than Muppets do.

    2. silks

      Re: Kudos to Apple…

      Would rather that Apple admit that they couldn't meet their product ambition than launch it anyway. Some companies would feel the need to just ship the product regardless.

  4. steviebuk Silver badge

    And still putting...

    ...5400 RPM HDDs in their expensive laptops.

    1. 45RPM

      Re: And still putting...

      Really? Have you been visiting the Apple Store in your time machine again? In 2019, the only storage available in Apple’s (admittedly expensive) laptops is SSD. Unless you can find a link to one fitted with a spinner (the last of which, to my knowledge was, the old MacBook Pro with an optical drive - which has been out of production for many years now)

      1. Piro

        Re: And still putting...

        not the laptops, but the newest iMac has a 5400 rpm drive option

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: And still putting...

          You could try having it on your lap. Would recommend it though and finding a laptop bag to fit would be an issue as well.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And still putting...

            'laptop' bag for it:

            https://gadgetflowcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Lavolta-Carrying-Case-Bag-for-iMac-02.jpg

            1. Muscleguy Silver badge

              Re: And still putting...

              I'm reminded of the backpacks for carrying around the original Macs back in the '80s.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: And still putting...

                Which reminded me of this

                https://www.cultofmac.com/492122/imac-using-train-passenger-clearly-hasnt-heard-macbooks/

              2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

                Re: And still putting...

                I remember them as well. I had one for some regular long train journies in the 80s and happily set it up and tapped away debugging on one of the BR trains with my power lead plugged into the mains socket by the luggage rack (which limited my choice of seat). I got some very odd looks from BR staff but I assumed I was not breaking written rules (no one had thought someone would be that stupid) as I was never called on it.

                Ahh the silly things we do in our late yoof.

                1. JimPoak

                  Re: And still putting...

                  Funny you mention that. I was on a train on a day out Sheffield and spotted a commuter typing furiously full of source code. My first thought was he's behind in his work. Then I my god that's how I used to be.

                  Never mined he will have a psychotic break and every thing will be fine.

                  1. werdsmith Silver badge

                    Re: And still putting...

                    Indeed I was on the Piccadilly line the other day, a lady next to me opened a Macbook and started chipping away in XCode.

                    I was using the trip as a nice break from screens.

      2. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: And still putting...

        I meant iMacs

        https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/buy-mac/imac

        Fusion Drive as standard. Which is a 5400rpm drive.

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: And still putting...

          It's a hybrid drive. I'm no Mac fan but since everything that matters will be on flash it would just be bad engineering to use a faster disk. I've long since ceased concerning myself with the speed of the hard drives I buy. The only thing that matters is capacity and cost.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: And still putting...

            bad engineering to use a faster disk.

            I don't know how large or how fast the flash cache is in Apple's Fusion drives, but the original consumer Hybrid - the Momentus XT - backed 4GB of flash with 7,200rpm rust. I think later models had 8GB, but even so, that's not a lot of cache for a modern OS and the sort of heavyweight apps typically installed on an iMac, and presumably it is the need for space that dictates the use of a hybrid drive as 1TB pure SSD is still pretty pricey.

            The Momentus' cache was write-through as well, so a faster disc speeds up writes, regardless.

            Of course, in an iMac there's probably room for two separate drives. Fit half a TB for OS and apps and a fast spinner for local data. Maybe even make the OS present them as one device...

            M.

            1. Rob Telford

              Re: And still putting...

              On 2019 iMacs, the 1 TB Fusion drive has 32GB Flash storage and the 2 TB and 3 TB Fusion drives come with 128 GB of Flash

            2. Baldrickk Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: And still putting...

              I still use one of those :P

              It went in my laptop, which then broke, and so ended up in my desktop instead...

              At some point, I'll buy an SSD

              icon: looking for my wallet, hoping for some cash.

          2. steviebuk Silver badge

            Re: And still putting...

            It's only the cache that is an SSD style on the hybrid drive. You WILL notice the difference from a 5400RPM drive to a full on SSD. Even the slowest of SSDs would be quicker than that drive. I've replaced a few 5400RPM drives recently on laptops that were almost unusable. Cloned the drive to an SSD (so same install of Windows 10 to rule that out) and the SSD brought the laptop back to life.

            Years back I stuck, stupidly as I wasn't aware, a couple of 5400rpm drives in my PC and noticed the copy speed difference to the 7200 drives.

            You will notice the difference.

            https://youtu.be/7wICIuHK4-E

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: And still putting...

              It's only the cache that is an SSD style on the hybrid drive. You WILL notice the difference from a 5400RPM drive to a full on SSD

              The point I was replying to was one which said there would be no advantage in a hybrid drive (i.e. one with a small amount of flash storage working as a persistent cache for a conventional spinning disc) having the spinning part working at anything faster than 5,400rpm. We all know that just about any SSD will thrash just about any HDD in most real-world tests, whether the HDD is 5,400, 7,200 or 10,000rpm.

              It's obviously a fairly complex interaction and I have no experience of Apple's drives, only the Momentus XT, which I have installed a couple of times. In this disc there is a - by modern standards - very small amount of flash (i.e. 4GB or 8GB) which is only used during reads. Writes go straight to the spinning disc for security / consistency reasons.

              In concept I suppose it's a bit like ReadyBoost, but done in the drive's firmware rather than by the OS.

              4GB is probably not enough to cache all the parts of OSX, Photoshop and whatever else might be loaded on startup, so some items will come straight from the spinning disc each time.

              In those cases (always write-through, some reads coming from rust) moving from 5,400rpm to 7,200rpm absolutely will make a difference, though I believe that Seagate's later offerings were "intellispin", rather than fixed speed.

              Another poster pointed out that Apple's drives come with 32GB or 128GB SSD. With that amount of "cache" it's entirely possible both that OSX and key applications will fit in their entirety into the SSD, and that writes can go to the SSD by default, with the drive "archiving" to rust during idle moments. In this case there will be very little performance benefit from 7,200rpm over 5,400rpm, and the slower speed should result in lower power consumption and possibly longer life; the SSD is likely to outlast the rust anyway.

              Interesting. I'll have to investigate. The beauty of the Momentus XT was that it was entirely transparent to the operating system, appearing simply as a normal SATA drive. I even have one fitted to my RiscPC. Other "hybrid" drives have needed OS drivers. I wonder which type this is?

              M.

    2. rsole

      Re: And still putting...

      If only they still did, that is partly why I am still using a 2012 MacBook Pro.

      It is still by far the most affordable way to get 1TB or more disc capacity.

    3. Wowbagger123

      Re: And still putting...

      Why do people on message forums post negative comments without doing any research? We are blessed with a thing known as an internet search engine. Takes literally a few minutes to find the answer. Much better than just assuming what you write is correct.

  5. Spamfast
    Thumb Up

    The Register asked Apple for comment. We haven't heard back and we're not surprised.

    Not a tea-snorter but that did elicit a chuckle, thanks.

    I sometimes imagine a vast special projects department at Apple purely there to deploy interception tools to prevent employees accidentally speaking to anyone associated with El Reg.

    Then I imagine the pleasure I'd get from reading an El Reg insider scoop discovering said programme.

  6. tempemeaty

    Apple is over.

    The next generation will be urban exploring the empty loop and wondering what happened.

  7. el kabong

    If only it could be as easy as to just punch a notch on slab...

    and call it a day.

  8. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    So-called "high standards"

    "After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project"

    That statement is very telling, considering Apple's so-called engineering standards are actually very low. If this product didn't live up to the engineering standards of a company that allowed "your holding it wrong", multiple bending issues with iPhones causing solder to break, laptops with glued together bezel pieces, laptops with easily broken keyboards riveted to the case, and more than this had to be a very bad engineering fail.

    But it is at this point I have to ask Apple, what is so wrong with using an industry standard? Why do you have to make your own pretty and proprietary thing and put something banal in front of it like "i" or "air"?

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: So-called "high standards"

      Because they have always since the original Mac done it that way. The short lived licensing deal which the returning Jobs sensibly killed excepted. If Microsoft hadn't existed Apply would have had to invent it in order to have something to be 'better' than.

      Though with the Chinese consumer getting nationalistic over their tech and not even the iWatch pushing phone sales they are in trouble.

      In terms of the watch, as a runner and physiologist I was intrigued by the ECG upgrade. I'd quite like to have a squiz at the traces from that since I can interpret them. Well normal ones. Also as someone whose atria get funky when I run a lot (checked out by the cardiac MD's) if I got one I would have to disable the 'phone the doctor there's an atrial fibrillation' feature.

      When you're fit enough with an athletic heart it can get quite funky at rest. A bit like how the engines of racecars don't idle smoothly or even at all in some cases. It is incompatible with the high performance bit. Even well specked road cars have something of this feature and the savvy driver will rev the engine when stopped in traffic.

      1. quxinot Silver badge

        Re: So-called "high standards"

        Your high performance engine needs the idle turned up, not annoyingly blipped constantly. And most likely it's grossly overcammed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So-called "high standards"

          I am reminded of the observation that you can commute quite happily in a Porsche 911, but not in a Lamborghini or Ferrari. It's the difference between engineering for usable power and engineering for show.

          Any self respecting modern engine sets its own idle speed anyway.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So-called "high standards"

        If a "well specked" (bird shit?) car has an idle problem it is because the injection and ignition systems have been poorly engineered. With modern variable cam timing and algorithmic control of the ignition point, it shouldn't happen. Unless some boy racer has tried to improve the performance without knowing what he is doing.

  9. PhilipN Silver badge

    Yawn

    1) Low margin item - and I do not mean cheap : low margin in proportion to the resources needed and likely sales, which leads to >

    AND 2) it could have made perfect sense (and I do not believe they could not have solved the engineering issues) if Apple were brave enough to eliminate all ports from a future generation phone, lightning, USB-C, everything (which would have been interesting). But if there is always going to be a physical port of some kind why spend valuable resources on a fancy dongle (which others are doing nicely at, thank you).

    Finally, like many here I have cupboards full of plugs, adapters, chargers and cables going all the way back to the first iPod, as well as many other devices. WTF am I supposed to do with that bloody lot (alongside the crates full of other cables and ... I’m gonna stop here to protect my blood pressure).

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Yawn

      I think you're right that Apple don't see the point in just making a generic Qi charging pad since there's no money in competing with Belkin, Xiaomi, Anker, Samsung etc.

      They were attempting to do something difficult - make a pad that charged three devices simultaneously without the user being too careful with device placement - since that same difficulty has so far prevented Apple's rivals making such a thing. Alas for Apple the difficulty has proved too great.

      A three device charger makes sense only for an of a iPhone, Apple watch and earbuds.

    2. Wowbagger123

      Re: Yawn

      It's not like the charging pad is practical. If you're charging then how can you use your device at the same time? Pretty useless device. I would give a teeny tiny bit of credit to Apple for admitting the quality standards weren't good enough and removing the product. Apples usual tactic when devices fail is stonewalling. Large numbers of people complain about GPU failures, stuck keys etc. and Apple deny there's a problem but offer an expensive fix - they don't do repairs, just replace components with equally fault prone components.

    3. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Yawn

      "1) Low margin item - and I do not mean cheap : low margin in proportion to the resources needed and likely sales"

      I think it depends on where they planned on going with it if it could be done successfully. The first version was certainly only ever going to be a niche product, but if it worked you could see it being improved to the point where you could build it into desk surfaces and things. AirPower as advertised didn't have much use, but being able to just throw any device on your table and have it charge would be incredible.

      I see it similar to the folding phones everyone's pushing out at the moment. In their current form, they're completely pointless. But if they can prove the technology in expensive niche products, just think what we could be getting 10 or so years from now.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The 'AirPower' name always implied where they wanted to get

    They were working with Energous on distance charging at the same time they were developing this, so I always thought making a charging pad was just a step along the way to their real goal. Their charging pad patents showed 15 coils, whereas no existing pads have more than 2 or 3, so they were clearly setting some ambitious goals for it but I guess their solution was too complex in the end. Hopefully the distance charging work is still ongoing, as that is 1000x more useful than charging pads. I have no interest in buying a wireless charging pad and wouldn't have had any interest in Apple's had it come out either. Wireless charging for phones is still a solution in search of a problem as far as I'm concerned.

    A little wireless charging tower that could charge devices within a few feet would be a game changer (especially for smart watches since you could leave them on all the time) Stick one at your desk and it could keep a wireless keyboard and mouse charged without having to place them in a special spot. Might even be able to charge a laptop if there was line of sight between the back of the display (where the coils would need to be) and the tower.

    1. hayzoos

      Re: The 'AirPower' name always implied where they wanted to get

      "Wireless charging for phones is still a solution in search of a problem as far as I'm concerned."

      Problem: Having to replace the charging (and primary connection) port in the lifetime of one battery and twice in the useful life on the last phone.

      Solution: Current phone wirelessly charges, charging port still going strong due to not being used as often. Charging cables are lasting longer as well.

      Distant wireless charging is doable, but the power losses are great with current tech. We haven't progressed much beyond where Nikola Tesla left off. He was focused on wireless power transmission over a distance for use as you go, not so much for charging which requires more power.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: The 'AirPower' name always implied where they wanted to get

        I can't say I've seen a charging port break before on a phone except for the time it broke after so much else was already broken that I just threw the device away. My problem with charging pads I've seen is that they are only about as big as the phone itself, require rather precise positioning of the phone on the pad, and don't work if the phone has a case. This makes it easy to put the phone down in what you think is the correct position, not look at it to confirm because it's at night and you're planning to sleep, and get up in the morning to find that you put the phone down at enough of an angle that it didn't charge.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The 'AirPower' name always implied where they wanted to get

        If you cannot replace the port, that's the fault of the design, not the physicality of it. Wheels are easy to swap for a reason. But a manufacture could glue them in... consumers would walk if they did.

        People remove a headphone jack, and consumers lap it up. That's the problem. The anti consumer actions (removing repairability, options, useability etc), are ignored.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The 'AirPower' name always implied where they wanted to get

        I've never had a port fail in a phone, though I've never had a phone that used microUSB which was a terrible design doomed to lead to lots of broken ports. USB-C is better but still not as good as Lightning insofar as with Lightning the port is just a hole, so if something breaks it is the tab on the cable you are connecting to it. The one flaw with Lightning is that the port in the phone attracts pocket lint like that's its job and will eventually have trouble making a solid connection due to the buildup, so you need to dig around with a needle or safety pin every 6 months or so (amazing the volume of lint that you'll pull out)

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: distance charging

      Fantasy. So called "wireless charging" can have as much distance as my cordless kettle or an induction hob. The "wireless charger" needs a cable and a LARGER mains SMPSU as it has losses. It's inductive magnetic transfer, like a transformer core in two halves, primary on one and secondary on the other. An air gap more than a few mm and it doesn't work at all. A cordless kettle is just like a DECT phone dock, or security two-way radio dock. Actually very long ago you could charge a phone in a dock in the car or in the office. Easier than a fiddly connector. Bring them back as an option!

      If you use RF to get range, then you create massive interference and need more complex certification. A lot more losses in the transmitter, path and receiver. You might need x10 the power of the existing inductive/transformer types.

      Also for travelling a so called wireless charging plate takes up more space in your bag than a conventional charger, as it needs a larger PSU to power it!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Check in the mail pls Apple/Google/Samsung?

        Magnet, powerful, 2 for orientation, pair on each phone/gadget and number of pairs on charger depending on number of gadgets charging it supports.

        Then simple external USB connectors with smart testing for continuity/voltage/charging connection (to test if in water or on charging plate), or basically what Motorola and a few others already do with their external USB interfaces on the backs of phones.

        I mean, Pogo pins have existed for how long now?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Check in the mail pls Apple/Google/Samsung?

          Old Nokias had external charging and data pins, more recently Xperia Z mobiles have had magnetic external charging pins, as have Moto's mod system.

          I just can't see Moto's sane mod system gaining much traction until other Android vendors can use it. The protocol is AOSP GreyBus but the physical connector is Moto proprietary.

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: distance charging

        long ago you could charge a phone in a dock

        It's a bit more tricky with micro USB than it was with some of the manufacturer-specific connectors, but it is possible. My mother has a Doro phone that came with a charging dock in the box.

        M.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The 'AirPower' name always implied where they wanted to get

      Hopefully the distance charging work is still ongoing

      Would you like some spotted paint while you're waiting? The last time this came up someone with the right chops wrote an extensive take down of it as snake oil.

    4. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: The 'AirPower' name always implied where they wanted to get

      DougS noted, "...showed 15 coils..."

      They could use smart switching circuitry to 'explore' each coil several times per second, and then apply full power once they find a load on one or more of them. With correct system design, they could have a hundred coils if they wish. With zero downside except cost.

      In response to inevitable rebuttal: Yes, I am. Much.

      1. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: The 'AirPower' name always implied where they wanted to get

        Reading around the Qi "multiple cooperative flux generators" topic a bit I think this may be roughly what they were trying to do (there are a few more wrinkles in compensating to localise the field). Why they ran into a brick wall I'm not sure, the harmonics explanation given in the linked article doesn't sound quite right, but the Qi standard appears to rely on driving the system in or near resonance, so complex resonances between the coils may be an issue, especially since the device is meant to communicate back to the charger by modulating its load.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Keyboards still failing

    Apple's hardware record has not been stellar recently. Its laptop "butterfly" keyboards elicited enough complaints and lawsuits that the company sleeved the internals to prevent dust from blocking the optical sensors.

    Apple are on the third generation butterfly keyboard and areas still having problems...

    Appl Still Hasn’t Fixd Its MacBook Kyboad Problm

    I think they need some real engineers in instead of some pretty thin box designers.

  12. Franco Silver badge

    Is anyone even vaguely surprised about this?

    Rest of phone industry has settled on USB as an interface, whether it's micro on lower end kit or the move towards type-C. Apple still use proprietary connectors.

    Rest of phone industry has settled on Qi for wireless charging, Apple goes proprietary. And so it goes with miracast for wireless display (although Google have now decided to be dicks about that and force Android users on to ChromeCast), micro sd for expandable storage, 3.5mm headphone jacks etc etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At this point with China rising so fast, everything Apple is doing is aimed at vendor lock in. Unrepairable products mean expensive insurance is essential. Apple services are designed to be incompatible with standards to make migration as difficult as possible.

      Even if the products were as good as their adverts say I wouldn't buy them because over the years I've realised just how essential it is to be able to second source everything.

      I was reading on a car website of someone who had a fault on an Audi. The Audi garage told him an entire subassembly had to be replaced, $900. Having an evil mind he took the defective part to a VW dealer who sold him it for $15.

      Apple wants to be Audi, but without people being able to get at the VW parts bin.

      1. Tim Almond

        Second Source

        It's not only the cost thing of second source. It's flexibility.

        I can get a Thinkpad repaired almost anywhere in the UK. You can find a small PC repair guy and he can fix it. He can get parts fast from a number of suppliers. If Lenovo don't have any in stock in the UK, you can always get a copy.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      @Franco

      Apple *do* use Qi. Qi is a baseline, supplying around 5W. Faster wireless charging is possible, but it's not a mandatory part of the Qi standard. Google's Pixel for example will only charge faster than the Qi baseline if they handshake with the wireless pad from a specific vendors. Apple phones will wireless charge up to 7.5W, and apparently are happy to do so from a Samsung charging pad. Galaxy phones can accept 9W.

      Apple's iPhone was using 3.5 mm jacks when Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Motorola were largely using proprietary weird audio connectors in their feature phones, and often several flavours per vendor.

      Apple created Lightning connectors before USB C, and Lightning, like USB C, is clearly superior to micro USB. Regulations that would force a vendor to use a poorer connector would not be in the interests of the consumer.

      I don't use Miracast (an inelegant way of doing things) but Chromecast plays nice with Android, iOS and MacOS kit.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        1. If they used Qi properly, then it would be interoperable with other vendors kit. It is not, therefore Apple are proprietary even if they are using parts of the Qi standard.

        2. They have now removed the 3.5mm jack, what they did in the past is irrelevant. If they could get away with it they'd lock out bluetooth to only work with Airpods as well.

        3. That is the most ridiculous argument I have ever seen in my life. Apple have never done anything that is the interest of the consumer, only that is in the interest of Apple. They have always been proprietary on the connections, and caused a lot of problems for people when they changed to Lightning and docks didn't work anymore.

        Apple spent years criticising Microsoft for their anti-competitive practices, now they are the industry leaders in it. More and more people that I know are leaving Apple because of their attempts at vendor lock in and ever increasing prices for no particular upgrades.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          If they could get away with it they'd lock out bluetooth to only work with Airpods as well.

          Apple pretty much crippled Bluetooth in its phones at the start: try sending a VCF or photo from any other device to an I-Phone.

      2. Down not across Silver badge

        Apple's iPhone was using 3.5 mm jacks when Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Motorola were largely using proprietary weird audio connectors in their feature phones, and often several flavours per vendor.

        Apple wasn't making any phones back when Nokia (for example) was still using the pop-port and its predecessors for headsets. By the time Jobs decided to get into the phone game, just about everyone were using 3.5mm port for headphones/headsets.

        In fact Apple was one of the first, if not the first, to abolish the very convenient standard 3.5mm headphone connection...

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          A jack plug is an invention of the 19th century, with 3.5mm size appearing in the 1950s.

          The world has moved on and I haven't missed them, and their lever vulnerability. I don't miss the trailing, tangly cables either.

          1. ibmalone Silver badge

            The, "this is old so we must therefore replace it" argument.

            Actually, that's been around a while too, maybe time we got rid of it...

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              It doesn't matter if it's old or not. It's lever vulnerability and tangly wires have been bettered in this application.

              1. ibmalone Silver badge

                It seemed to matter to you, since you chose to lead with that.

                As for the dreaded "lever vulnerability", I've lost count of the number of phones, walkmen, mini-disc, cd, mp3 players, stereos, computers, guitar amplifiers I've had. Number of them that have fallen foul of the fearful lever vulnerability? None. Those still sweating in fear about it at night might also observe most earbud headsets use a right-angle jack.

                Number of bluetooth speakers/headsets I own? Three. Number that have intermittent problems connecting or arbitrarily decide to connect in lo-fi mode, requiring faffing about in bluetooth settings to re-pair? Three. Number with abysmal battery life? Two. Number that cost less than a decent pair of wired headphones or earbuds? None.

                It's got its place (I've got each of those three devices for a reason, prime among them the fact there's no standard for phone controls), but bluetooth involves adding more complexity to otherwise simple hardware, for mostly illusory convenience. More inconvenient to uncoil a cable or to reboot your phone?

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Good for you ibmalone. I've had a contrary experience. No 'kin way I'm going back.

                  1. ibmalone Silver badge

                    I'm sure we can agree to disagree, so have an upvote.

  13. DrXym Silver badge

    An overhyped Apple product with fundamental design flaws

    Which product were we talking about again?

  14. Mattmattic

    If they would have left it with the original team?

  15. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Try two?

    They could buy uBeam.

  16. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    "Craig Lloyd at iFixit..."

    ...wrote some techno-babble nonsense and hardly anyone noticed.

    Somehow he lept from multiple coils to harmonic frequencies. Complete and utter nonsense.

  17. Code_Daemon
    Trollface

    The real reason...

    ... is 'cos they can't make it charge the MacBook Pro range? After all removing all the ports what they want. And buttons too... waiting for the power button and the rest on the iDevices to become simple gestures.

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