Apple’s missing AirPower may be hurting wireless charging industry

Apple’s silence about whether it will or won’t ship its long-overdue, multi-device wireless charger may be giving smartphone and other mobile device second thoughts on using the technology in their own devices, according to a new report.

The annual shipment of wireless power receivers and transmitters is forecast to grow from 450 million units in 2017 to more than 2.2 billion units in 2023. And by 2027, wireless charging shipments are expected to reach 7.5 billion units, according to a new report from IHS Markit.

From 2018 to 2023, more than 6 billion wireless charging receiver units and 2.7 billion transmitter unit  are expected to ship. Smartphones, wearables and home appliances  are expected to be the top three types of devices to wireless charging over the next four years. Smartphones are likely to account for approximately 4.6 billion of the 6 billion wireless charging receiver devices that ship in the next five years.

Wireless charging IHS MarkitIHS Markit

Even as adoption of wireless charging grows, there has likely been a recent chilling effect on the push caused by Apple’s failure to ship its AirPower wireless charger. Apple announced AirPower in the fall of 2017 and said it would ship before the end last year.

Throughout 2018, Apple remained silent about the fate of its wireless charger; it didn’t even mention it at its annual keynote event in September. Industry pundits surmised the company was struggling with technical issues, such as how to regulate different charging requirements on a single pad using the Qi wireless charging specification. Apple advertised AirPower as a pad that could charge an iPhone 8 or iPhone X, an Apple Watch Series 3 and AirPods via their charging case.

Wireless charging IHS Markit IHS Markit

Another possibility is that Apple may be considering how to use intellectual property from PowerByProxi, the small, wireless charging technology company it purchased in 2017. PowerByProxi’s technology uses magnetic resonance to send a charge over short distances (just over an inch).

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