For the first time in years, Apple is canceling a product before its release

What could’ve been.
What could’ve been.
Image: Apple
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Apple told TechCrunch today (March 29) that it will not be releasing AirPower, the wireless-charging pad that it first announced in September 2017.

Earlier this week, Apple released the second generation of its AirPods wireless earbuds, with a mention on the packaging about being able to charge the buds’ case using AirPower. But it seems between whenever that packaging was printed and sometime today, Apple decided to pull the plug on AirPower.

What separated Apple’s ideas for a wireless-charging mat from others on the market was that it was supposed to let owners charge up to three devices at once, by placing them down on the mat any way they wanted. There are some wireless-charging pads on that can charge multiple devices at once, but the devices need to be laid down in a specific way to actually charge.

It’s extremely rare for Apple to cancel a publicly announced product before it hits the market. In recent years, it has canceled product lines that no longer were bringing in much revenue, like the iPod, or divisions it wanted to close, like its AirPort router line. Other products, like the HomePod speaker, were given a release date which was subsequently missed, but to sit mum on a product that was announced to the world and then cancel it more than a year later is quite unusual for Apple.

The world’s most dominant luxury-electronics manufacturer has struggled with production and customer support issues and recently posted its first drop in sales growth since 2015, blaming poor iPhone sales in China.

Apple sent Quartz the following statement from its head of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio:

After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.

Apple recently held a press event outlining the new services it plans to offer. But considering the majority of its services are currently consumed on devices it has produced, Apple is either going to have to start reaching its “high standards” again quickly, or start playing nicer with other device manufacturers.