Samsung Wireless Charger Duo isn't even official yet, but it'll probably ship before AirPower

Could AirPower 2 come before AirPower 1 even ships?

Credit: Apple

Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 is due to land in a few weeks, and for the most part, it won't make much noise among iPhone fans. Pegged to have a very similar design, screen, and camera as last year's model, the battle between the Note 9 and the new iPhones will likely be even more one-sided than usual, as Apple is primed to release three new models with iPhone X-style designs, including one with a bigger screen than the Note, a first for an iPhone.

But while Samsung's phablet might not matter to iPhone users, the accessories probably will. For one, the Note will reportedly have a new S Pen stylus, which could raise some Pencil envy. And Samsung will also be selling a brand new charger, the Wireless Charger Duo. Tipped by German site LetsGoDigital, the accessory is basically an extended version of Samsung's existing wireless charger, with a stand on one end and a mat for the Galaxy Watch on the other. There are quite a few third-party iPhone-and-Apple Watch chargers that do this, but nothing from Apple.

The Wireless Charger Duo should be a me-too device, and an inferior one at that. At its iPhone event last September, Apple announced its first-ever wireless charger to usher in its first Qi-enabled iPhones, and it looked to be a one-of-a-kind accessory. It would let you charge three devices at once without needing any extra cables or special positioning. According to the one-sentence description on its website (which still promises a 2018 ship date), you can "Just set your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods anywhere on the mat to charge them wirelessly."

It will also communicate with your phone to show the current charge level of all the devices on the charging pad, so you can easily tell when your AirPods (with new wireless charging case—that's also MIA) or Apple Watch is charged up enough to grab them and head to the gym. That's a neat new trick.

And now, it looks like Samsung will beat Apple to the punch. While there are differences—AirPower charges three devices while the Wireless Charger Duo obviously only charges two—it raises the questions: Is AirPower Apple's greatest vaporware product? Is it possible that Apple could release an update to AirPower even before the original one ships? And will anyone even care when it releases?

AirPower outage

Last month, Mark German at Bloomberg News wrote a story about the delays, implying that engineering difficulties were to blame for the nearly year-long delay: "The AirPower charger is also more advanced than the current competition because it includes a custom Apple chip running a stripped down version of the iOS mobile operating system to conduct on-device power management and pairing with devices. Apple engineers have also been working to squash bugs related to the on-board firmware."

samsung wireless charger duo leak LetsGoDigital

Samsung's Wireless Charger Duo will let you charge two devices at once.

That's a lot of tech for a charger, so it's somewhat understandable that it's taking so long. Aside than Gurman's report, Apple hasn't offered up any details about its AirPower charging mat since it was unveiled last September, so it could be that Apple's new mat will deliver a revolution in charging. But on the surface, it's not all that special. Seemingly, you'll need an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods with a wireless charging case to take full advantage of it, and it'll likely have a sky-high price tag. Technology moves fast, so if Apple ships the same product that was supposed to launch months ago and gives it a $129 or $149 price tag, it's going to feel outdated and overpriced, especially if it can't charge two phones at once (Samsung's new charger reportedly will).

For the past 10 months, iPhone users have relied on third-party chargers for their wireless needs. Among them, Samsung's wireless charger is one of the best, with a nice design that lets you see and charge your phone at the same time, and a good price, generally around $50 with discounts off its $70 MSRP. Its new dual charger will likely cost around the same, with a rumored price tag of $75. We don't know when it will ship, but presumably around the time the Note 9 hits shelves in late August.

AirPower was supposed to usher in a wireless revolution of convenience and simplicity. When it finally releases later this year, it might be just another overpriced product that took too long to arrive.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?