Apple’s AirPower Fail is Shameful
Apple just owned up to one of its most shameful fails of all time.
Just days after its star-studded event that was supposed to herald a new chapter for the company, Apple announced that its most anticipated accessory won’t actually be launching — ever. After more than a year of hype and delays, the company is killing AirPower.
While not entirely shocking given the long, unexplained delays to Apple’s wireless charging mat, its abrupt cancellation is a massive blunder for the Cupertino tech giant.
Though it’s not unheard of for a company to ax a planned product, it’s rare for it to happen after a splashy public announcement. For Apple, it’s completely unprecedented. The company plans out products years in advance and meticulously orchestrates the events where they launch. It goes to extreme lengths to keep future plans under wraps and adheres to punishing schedules to keep products on track.
So the long delays were already eyebrow-raising (and the source of much rumor and speculation). That Apple is now throwing in the towel on the project entirely makes it all worse.
Remember, AirPower was among the first products ever launched at Apple’s new Steve Jobs Theater. The accessory was shown off alongside the iPhone X, the single most important iPhone upgrade in a decade. And AirPower was the flagship accessory to match. Now we know that was all a lie.
And look, AirPower is far from Apple’s only embarrassment. Before AirPower, there was BendGate and AntennaGate and the battery slowdown disaster. The FaceTime bug was a rare privacy blunder, and the butterfly keyboard on new MacBooks is still a travesty. But none of these quite compare to being forced to kill a long-promised product right before it was supposed to launch.
I mean, AirPods 2, which only just began shipping, have a direct reference to AirPower on the box. Thousands of people ordered the second-generation AirPods or their $79 wireless charging case with the expectation they would also be able to buy AirPower and, you know, wirelessly charge them.
At this point, we still don’t know what exactly went wrong to cause this. Apple’s official line is predictably bland, that “AirPower will not achieve our high standards.” Prior reporting has indicated the company encountered a number of engineering challenges through other recent reports suggested AirPower was in fact on track.
But that murkiness only makes things worse. Apple’s repeated delays and near-total silence about AirPower made the fabled accessory even more popular. “What about AirPower” became an oft-repeated meme at every subsequent Apple event, and speculation was an endless source of amusement to Apple fans.
If Apple had managed to pull it off and launch AirPower, it would have given the company an opportunity to prove that its wireless charger was worth the wait. That Apple won’t be able to deliver it, after all, proves we were right to laugh at all those AirPower memes in the first place.