Future iPhones Could Support Wireless Charging

It is already possible to charge an iPhone wirelessly—you just need the right case. And there are several vendors offering competing technologies for this purpose. Duracell's PowerMat is one example, and another technology, named Qi (pronounced 'chee') is available from multiple manufacturers. Trident makes a Qi case for the iPhone and it's on sale at MacMall for just $39.99.

Zuke Qi

Another firm, Zuke, will be launching their Kickstarter campaign soon for a Qi-enabled battery case for the iPhone. This gives you two benefits: wireless charging and extra battery life. The Zuke case will be offered in black, silver, or gold, and early birds can get a case and Qi charger for $99.

Ikea Ai

Ikea is even building Qi chargers directly into their furniture, so you could set a Qi-enabled phone down on your desk or nightstand and it would charge. When the Chevy Volt was introduced, a major feature was having PowerMat baked in, so you could charge your iPhone just by placing it in the console— as long as it was in a PowerMat case of course. Naturally, there are at least two competing standards, just like Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Duracell is a major brand but Qi has a long list of partners. You can even charge your PowerMat-enabled device at some Starbucks and McDonalds locations.

Starbucks Qi

The interesting twist is that Apple apparently adopted the Qi standard with the Apple Watch. However, with Apple being Apple, they make no mention of how Qi and the Apple Watch seem to require Apple's charger, whereas the Apple Charger can indeed charge other Qi devices, like the Moto 360 smartwatch. Apple cannot claim to be compatible with Qi if the Apple Watch doesn't work with it. It appears Apple doesn't care about the Qi branding, but this way they get to leverage the research and development of others without directly promoting others.

Skiva

If you like the idea of wireless charging, and have an Apple Watch in addition to iPhone, and don't care about Qi or other brands, there's a different crowdfunded project for you. Skiva is offering an 'all-in-one' wireless charging station that should clean up the clutter on your desk or nightstand. One base station will wirelessly charge your Apple Watch and your iPhone, ensconced in their battery pack case which adds another 3,000 mAh of power. The whole thing uses only a coaster-sized footprint but performs multiple valuable functions. And it's only $45 or less for early adopters.

Skiva

Going forward, adding wireless charging to the iPhone, without the use of a case, would be a major plus. Numerous Android devices offer this feature and it's a great way to eliminate ports and make a device water resistant, as the Apple Watch is. Given the Apple Watch's apparent use of Qi, it's likely that the iPhone would also use Qi, whether or not Apple acknowledges this.

iQi

The next iPhone is expected to be slightly thicker. Among other things, this will eliminate the protruding lens of the current camera. Many users have complained because, in addition to the aesthetics, it makes it somewhat rocky to type on it when the phone is on a flat surface. Apple could use the extra thickness to insert a wireless charging connector. After all, the cases that add this are still quite thin, so this wouldn't be unreasonable. One vendor sells the iQi, which adds a Qi charger to an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus without adding much thickness. You can use your existing flexible case as long as it's not metal.  Given that the next generation of iPhones are not going to have earth shaking enhancements, Apple needs to keep innovating and giving Apple customers reasons to upgrade. Wireless charging could be that killer feature.

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Author Details

Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.