« Previously: After WPC tie-up, what’s next for Apple?  

With just less than two weeks until the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, excitement continues to mount in the industry. IHS Markit expects that at least one other major mobile phone handset OEM will also announce a new smartphone device with wireless charging technology.

One issue that still stirs curiosity is Apple’s leap to wireless charging. Long-running rumours that Apple will add wireless charging to the iPhone 8 have been lent additional weight with the news that the company has joined an industry group devoted to wireless power, reports 9TO5Mac, adding that early last year, Energous teased that it was working with a “tier one” consumer electronics company to implement its WattUp RF wire-free charging technology into consumer devices, but no details have emerged about that partnership as of now.

Becoming a member of the Wireless Power Consortium is the first time Apple has confirmed involvement with any wireless power standard body.

The world market for wireless charging is expected to exceed 350 million enabled receiver units shipped in 2017. To date, this volume has largely been 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.

While the Wireless Power Consortium promotes the use of a single standard for wireless charging, known as Qi, that doesn’t mean that Apple will fully support the protocol, 9TO5Mac stressed, adding that Apple already uses Qi charging for the Watch, but as The Register noted back in 2015, it uses a tweaked version that means you can’t use other Qi chargers. It seems likely it will do the same with the iPhone, 9TO5Mac predicted.

If you want wireless charging with your existing iPhone, there are solutions available already in the form of wireless charging cases and stick-on receivers.

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.

With these announcements, new partnerships and a reigniting of the industry interest in wireless power, the prospect of receiver shipments hitting 2 billion units in 2025 are stronger than ever.

In other news, Apple is considering setting up manufacturing in India but challenges abound. Read All gravy for Cook's iPhone manufacturing?

 
« Previously: After WPC tie-up, what’s next for Apple?