Even as HomePod’s official launch date looms, Apple could be gearing up to unveil new products as soon as next month, according to a new report.
Apple could launch its AirPower wireless charging mat and the corresponding AirPods wireless charging case in March, an anonymous tipster from Best Buy told The Apple Post. AirPower, specifically, will be available directly from Apple, or through big box retail chains and Authorized Resellers.
Best Buy is slated to begin receiving AirPower units — both for sale and for demonstration purposes — at their retail locations toward the end of March, the source said. Presumably, that’s around the time that Apple will begin selling AirPower itself, since the tipster noted that Best Buy will stock AirPower from “day one,” both online and in-store.
While the new AirPods wireless charging case will also be launching, Apple Post’s source claimed that it won’t be available as a standalone accessory through Best Buy or other third-party channels.
Instead, Apple is rumored to sell standalone AirPods charging cases exclusively through its own Apple Stores and its online storefront. At third-party retail outlets like Best Buy, the charging accessory will only be available in a package with new AirPods.
It’s worth noting that, since this is an anonymous source, there’s no way to guarantee the validity of this information. So take these rumors with a grain of salt.
On the other hand, launching accessory products at both first- and third-party retail stores is a strategy Apple has done before. A good example is its Apple Pencil stylus launch in 2015.
A mid to late March launch also lines up with Apple’s tentative announcement of AirPower. When it unveiled the wireless charging pad at its September keynote, the company said the product would launch in “early 2018.” By historical patterns, that’s typically within the first or second quarter of the year.
As mentioned, AirPower was a surprise announcement at Apple’s fall event. The wireless charging pad is the company’s first such accessory, and it will allow users to charge up to three devices simultaneously — including a compatible iPhone, an Apple Watch, and the new AirPods case.
Though it’s not entirely clear how much the charging accessory will retail for, previous leaks and speculation have suggested that it could run anywhere from $140 to $200 in the U.S. There’s no word on how much the standalone AirPods charging case will be, however.
Other Products Coming Soon
As far as other Apple devices that could launch within the next few months, a handful of rumors have pointed toward a possible successor to Apple’s iPhone SE similarly rolling out in March. It’s possible that we could see new entry-level iPad and iPad Pro models launch around March and June, respectively (based on Apple’s previous launch trends for its tablet lineup).