Reports are coming in today that Apple will introduce wireless charging for upcoming iPhone models. The original source is a DigiTimes article that came out Friday suggesting that Apple, along with Samsung, HTC, LG and Nokia are all looking to introduce wireless charging to their smartphone this year.
The DigiTimes article which is the main source of the rumours is comparatively light on information about Apple’s efforts on wireless charging, while going into some detail on Samsung’s efforts.
It does suggest that Apple will use it’s own technical standards for wireless charging rather than adopting one of the universal standards. The report also casts doubt over whether the wireless charging will be built into the phone, suggesting that it could be merely an accessory that Apple offers with the iPhone. If this comes in the form of a Apple developed case this will be a major shakeup of the iPhone Accessories market which Apple has so far avoided getting directly involved with despite their success with iPad covers. Most iPhone users don’t currently use a case and Apple might get some backlash for only providing a technology to those who want to use a single case design developed internally.
The DigiTimes reports suggests that Samsung, the makers of the Galaxy series of smartphones for Android, will adopt the Qi wireless charging technology. This technology is open to other manufacturers to use and is developed by the Wireless Power Consortium. In practice using this open standard will mean that others can develop their own charging platforms for the Samsung and potentially venues such as coffee shops and airports could offer charging pads that are compatible with multiple phones.
Sadly as well as the potential for Apple and other smartphone manufacturers to develop their own technology, the other barrier to this is that we currently have multiple competing standards with the Alliance for Wireless Power and the Power Matters Alliance both competing with the technology that DigiTimes reports Samsung will adopt.
However the DigiTimes report also suggests that isn’t not certain if the upcoming Galaxy S IV will contain the wireless charging capability or if it will be an an accessory such as a case, or more likely a replacement back cover. Here Samsung has an advantage of the iPhone which doesn’t have a user removable back panel.
Last month we reported on a DIY project that can add wireless charging to current Samsung smartphones by attaching the wireless charging pad from a different phone (the short lived Palm Pre) to the back case of a Samsung smartphone. This report suggests for the upcoming model Samsung may just put similar components into an back cover which comes as an optional extra.
The reports of Apple adding wireless charging actually conflict with earlier denials by Phil Schiller who pointed out wireless charging typically doesn’t actually add much connivence as the charging systems still have to be plugged in. Indeed it seems more likely that wall outlets will start having USB ports to charge phones as some currently are doing than adopt wireless charging ports.
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Wireless charging coming to iPhone and Galaxy soon?