Apple Makes a Move Toward Wireless Charging

There’s an awfully powerful chance that the 10th anniversary iPhone is going to include wireless charging.

Adding to recent speculation about the next iPhone’s features, Apple late last week joined the Wireless Power Consortium, an industry group that has been pushing a wireless charging standard known as Qi.

While Samsung, among other rivals to Apple, has had wireless charging in its premium handsets for some time now, all iPhones lack this convenience feature.

“The success of wireless charging adoption from Apple’s competitors is something that Apple can no longer ignore,” says IHS Technology analyst Vicky Yussuff, who adds that 90% of the consumers that IHS has surveyed said they want wireless charging on their next device.

The Qi standard encompasses both inductive and resonant charging technologies.

Apple wouldn’t comment on any of the features that might make it into the next iPhone. But the company did issue a statement:

“Apple is an active member of many standards development organizations, as both a leader and contributor. Apple is joining the Wireless Power Consortium to be able to participate and contribute ideas to the open, collaborative development of future wireless charging standards. We look forward to working together with the WPC and its members.”

Samsung, Lenovo, LG, HTC, Huawei, Sony and Nokia are among the 200-plus member companies in the WPC.

Apple does offer wireless charging through the Apple Watch. And with some third-party cases iPhone owners charge the phones wirelessly.

IHS expects more than 350 million wireless-charging-capable receiver units to ship in 2017 worldwide, with most of the volume driven through the backing of wireless charging by Samsung.

“However, many in the industry have been cautious to move forward until they knew the direction for any wireless charging on iPhone devices,” Yussuff says. “Although shipments of wireless charging devices grew by 40% in 2016, the continued absence of the iPhone and the continued wait for the launch of magnetically resonant devices meant shipments were lower than expected for 2016 overall.”

Yussuff expects at least one other major phone manufacturer to embrace wireless charging later this month during the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. With these announcements, she says, the prospect that wireless charging receiver shipments could reach 2 billion units by 2025 have just gotten a lot stronger.

Email: ebaig@usatoday.com; Follow USA TODAY Personal Tech Columnist @edbaig on Twitter

Source: USA Today – Edward C. Baig

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