Xiaomi has made AirPower that Apple can’t mass produce?

At the Xiaomi conference, its attention may not be less than that of Xiaomi 11 Ultra and MIX FOLD.

In the first half of the Xiaomi press conference, there was a new product that had a high degree of enthusiasm for discussion. It is neither the Android machine emperor Xiaomi 11 Pro nor the Android light Xiaomi 11 Ultra, but the Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board that "passes in a hurry" on Keynote.

To put it in an exaggeration, the Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board has almost robbed the limelight of all new products, and it is also jokingly called the "light of wireless charging board".

From the appearance point of view, when the Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board appeared, people thought of AirPower lying on the Apple Keynote. It was released with the iPhone X in September 2017, but Apple has not been able to solve its fever problem, and finally canceled the listing of AirPower in March 2019, and died before being born.

This time, the Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board, which is somewhat similar to AirPower and has similar functions, has made people’s "eyeballs". It seems that Xiaomi has made AirPower that Apple can't mass produce, and the price is only low. A few hundred dollars. From this point of view, it's hard to think of whether the Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board is popular.

What are the characteristics of the Xiaomi version of AirPower?

The Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board has not yet been officially introduced. Only from the information at the press conference, it contains 19 charging coils to support mobile phones, earphones, watches and other smart devices that can be wirelessly charged at any location.

The maximum power can reach 60W, and three devices can be charged at the same time, that is, each device can enjoy a maximum of 20W fast charging power. From the official website, the Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board does not use active heat dissipation (fan), and the thickness of 15.1mm is also reasonable. In order to achieve a charging power of 60W, the power of the charging head has reached 120W.

However, the 19 built-in coils and higher charging power also took two years of Xiaomi engineers to finally solve the problem of overheating when coils are stacked and "high" power supply. After the release, many netizens speculated that, in order to dissipate heat and put down 19 coils, the Mi Multi-coil wireless fast charging board must have a built-in fan, and it will also have a significant thickness. In other words, it is designed for function. .

In addition, the function of the Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board does not interact with the charging device except for charging. It is just a wireless charging pad.

How is AirPower different from ordinary charging pads?

AirPower is a one-stop charging terminal for Apple devices, which can support AirPods, iPhone's Qi wireless charging protocol, and also support the private charging protocol on Apple Watch. This also means that the built-in coil of AirPower needs to be guaranteed to cover Qi protocol and private protocol.

▲ Picture from: Bloomberg

In addition to charging AirPods, iPhone, and Apple Watch at the same time, it can also communicate with the device. You can directly see the charging status of all devices on the iPhone.

In order to achieve these two functions, AirPower not only has to place more than 20 coils inside, but also needs a chip to ensure the communication and interaction between the wireless charging board and the iOS device.

▲ The Zens Liberty wireless charging pad with 16 built-in radio loops also supports multi-device charging in unlimited locations.

Now there are some third-party charging boards that can support wireless charging of multiple devices, and also support unlimited placement, but they do not support the private protocol of the Apple Watch. They often divide a separate area for the Apple Watch.

The superposition of coils of different charging protocols in AirPower is not only easy to accumulate heat, but also easy to cause electromagnetic interference, which requires Apple to continuously optimize the power supply and switching strategy. Previously, on Zens Liberty's wireless charging board similar to AirPower, when you move the device, there will be a delay of 3~4 seconds when you switch to the adjacent coil.

In addition, AirPower has consistently maintained Apple's thinness and simplicity in appearance. Apple does not want to add fans to AirPower for heat dissipation, thereby compromising the thin and light design.

It is precisely to support different charging protocols, not limit the location, can communicate with iOS devices, and still be sufficiently light and thin. This uncompromising approach eventually led to the uncompromising of AirPower products on the market.

For Apple, AirPower was clearly a failure, failed to solve the technical problems, and failed to do a good job in the expected management of the product. Before the research and development is completed, its functions and characteristics will be released together. But AirPower carries Apple's pursuit of wireless.

AirPower is a product in the wireless future that Apple imagined. It can charge all Apple mobile devices and interact with the devices at the same time. However, it is too ideal to be achieved with current technology. Production). The Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board is a compromise solution that can be mass-produced at the moment.

Is Apple's progress no longer noticeable?

In the final analysis, the Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board can be said to realize only 50% of the functions of AirPower, and it is one of many wireless charging boards that support multiple devices. As for the ability to communicate and interact with multiple devices, there is a high probability that only Apple will do it, but it is a pity that it has now stayed on the "paper".

Apple's AirPower has many problems to solve under the beautiful vision, and we are also looking forward to the launch of this wireless charging wrench with built-in A series processing. Although its price may be 5 times or 6 times that of the Xiaomi multi-coil wireless fast charging board, whenever I see the AirPower demo picture, I will always be inexplicably excited.

This kind of inner excitement seems to rarely appear in current Apple products, especially the iPhone every year.

As domestic manufacturers have made significant progress in recent years, new features such as high refresh rate and high-power charging have been ahead of the iPhone in some respects. They are no longer followers of the iPhone, but gradually get rid of the shadow of the iPhone, and begin to take the road of "differentiation" of their products.

Just in 2017 when AirPower was released, domestic mobile phones were still making bangs and 3D structured light with reference to the iPhone. But in the next few years, domestic mobile phones were almost dominated by fingerprints under the screen, with optical and ultrasonic solutions.

There is still no iPhone with high refresh rate and high-power fast charging. It seems a bit outdated, and the screen quality and camera specifications have been caught up by Xiaomi OV. Except for iOS, the gap between domestic manufacturers and iPhone is decreasing, or Apple seems Stepping in place.

Although Apple may launch several waves of new products every year, for the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, they are updated once a year, and the frequency is stable. And it has its own update rhythm. For a new feature, when the iPhone will be equipped, it may have been laid out a year or two ago.

In addition, as Apple's market share continues to increase, the audience continues to expand, and the iPhone product line is relatively single, allowing Apple to adopt a prudent (conservative) update strategy. Especially when it comes to safe charging power, the lessons of Galaxy Note 7 are vivid after all.

A relatively single product line, a relatively stable update strategy, a relatively fixed update frequency, and the bright spots of the new iPhone can easily be overwhelmed by domestic manufacturers of high-frequency update strategies. In terms of products, it is not so much innovation ability that becomes weaker, but more non-obvious innovation.

The advantages of iPhone are still in self-developed SoC, computational photography, and iOS ecology, but these features are not particularly easy to spread. In other words, these features may not be as good as a high refresh rate screen, a large bottom, a high-pixel sensor, and a high-power fast charge that is easy for people to remember and feel.

Looking at the entire Apple product, the goal of all new product launches is to integrate the entire ecosystem. This concept is still ahead. Now Apple is the only one who can master the hardware of small screens and large screens, and control the entire software ecosystem.

Recently, Apple has also launched a self-developed true productivity tool for M1 chips, and subsequent product sequences will also be based on M series chips. The layout on the self-developed desktop ARM chip is on the one hand to control the hardware, on the other hand it is to integrate the software ecology and eliminate the boundary between iOS and macOS. Even subsequent Apple products only have screen size distinctions, but no system The estrangement.

Perhaps at that time, it is no longer important whether Apple has AirPower or not. What is important is how to display different product forms in the context of ecological integration.

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