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Apple is missing the boat on AirPower, and other companies are taking advantage

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The picture at the top of this post is not the AirPower wireless charger that Apple announced at its iPhone X event last September. It comes from the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for a device called Plux, which has raised over $365,000 at the time of posting from over 9,000 backers. All of these potential customers seem very eager to get their hands on anything that even somewhat resembles the promise of Apple’s AirPower mat.

It’s been over seven months since Apple first announced the AirPower mat alongside the iPhone X and iPhone 8, the first phones that Apple sold with wireless charging. The big promise of AirPower is that it will be a one-stop shop for wirelessly charging all your portable Apple devices, like an iPhone, an Apple Watch Series 3, and a pair of AirPods at the same time. Additionally, Apple seems to be doing some extra software-side tweaks to the Qi standard, which will allow users to see the charge of all their devices on a charging iPhone.

However, there’s been no word from Apple on when to expect the AirPower charger or what it’ll cost when it does come out, which is sending apparently thousands of customers into the arms of cheap knock-offs like Plux.

Based on descriptions alone, Plux should not be a better charger than Apple’s AirPower. The Apple Watch charger isn’t built into the pad like Apple’s; rather it has a physically coiled regular USB cable hidden inside. The AirPods charge through a hacky Qi receiver that plugs into the Lightning port and is hidden inside a second rubber case. There’s also none of Apple’s extra software polish.

But Plux does have one major advantage over Apple: you can order one on Indiegogo right now. The company claims it will ship by April, which is more than Apple can say. Sure, it’s a crowdfunded Indiegogo product that might not actually ship before Apple’s does — especially since the iPhone company is hosting an event next week. There are probably way better wireless charger options out there right now, even if Plux’s does hit the market first.

But the people seem to want AirPower — and if Apple won’t give it to them, someone else will.