iPhone rumors are never out of season! The latest one suggests that we could see wireless charging on at least one of this year’s iPhones. 9to5Mac has noticed that Apple has quietly joined the Wireless Power Consortium, a group that promotes the Qi wireless charging standard.
It’s bare bones as rumors go, but one figures Apple wouldn’t join up for the fun of it. Qi wireless charging is one of the major standards (alongside rival PMA), and has consistently been found in Samsung Galaxy S phones over the past few years, along with a handful of other Android and Windows Phone devices. When used with a Qi charging surface, devices with Qi charging technology built in can be charged up without the need for a cable (aside from the one that connects the surface to a power source).
Despite just joining the Consortium recently, Apple is no stranger to Qi. The Apple Watch’s charging dock is based on Qi technology, although Apple being Apple, they tweaked it just enough to where the Apple Watch can only be used with Apple chargers (a less cynical take — problems arising from the use of low-quality third party chargers aren’t unheard of). But, an increase in interest ahead of an iPhone with wireless charging makes sense — the iPhone is Apple’s golden goose, and if they’re going to use someone else’s technology, they’re undoubtedly going to want direct involvement in how that technology matures.
After all, wireless charging is still far from perfect. Requiring a plugged in mat or surface means limits freedom of movement as much as a cable would — currently, the benefit is the seconds fewer it takes to throw a phone down on a mat versus plugging it in. There’s certainly no benefit in speed — wireless charging is generally slower, especially compared to a technology like Qualcomm’s QuickCharge.
The dream scenario is long-range wireless charging, whereby a phone could be charged by simply being located anywhere within the radius of a charging device. We’re not there yet, and the technology might not be there (let alone fast and reliable enough) for some time, so we could see Apple get its feet wet with wireless charging as it is now instead.
In a statement given to Business Insider, a representative for Apple said,
“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.”