It’s been close to a year and a half since Apple first announced AirPower, its supposedly revolutionary wireless charger that still has yet to materialize. Now, yet another knock-off version of the still-missing powermat has appeared — this time in the form of Anker’s new PowerWave+ Pad, via 9to5Toys.
As knock-off AirPower pads go, this one is pretty lame. Anker is asking for $54 for the ability to charge a single device, plus an Apple Watch (assuming you thread a not-included $29 Apple Watch charging cable into the charging pad). Power is supplied by a Micro USB cable, despite the fact that this was released in 2019. The pad itself appears to just be a hunk of plastic. There are cheaper and better-looking options out there.
The fact that the Anker PowerWave+ Pad exists is notable because it’s just one of the numerous products that have appeared in the last few months to try to fill the vacuum that the missing AirPower has left in the market. Anker is trying, Griffin has a version, Nomad has a similar style pad, and that’s to say nothing of the plethora of crowdfunded knock-offs and sketchy replicas that are practically a dime a dozen on Amazon.
Sure, most of these chargers won’t be as good as AirPower. They won’t have Apple’s special software integrations or the company’s special, multicoil system that Apple says should help avoid the flaky positioning issues that can plague other wireless chargers. But none of that will likely matter to most consumers. Right now, you can go on Amazon and actually buy an Anker PowerWave+, and despite its flaws, it’ll still charge your phone just as fast as Apple’s will.
More importantly, every customer who buys one of these means it’s another AirPower that Apple probably won’t sell. That’s the real cost of Apple’s inability to ship.